Christine Koh’s article, “You Can Care About Education and Still Be OK Writing This Year Off” (February 28), managed to find some positives in this bleak situation as it approached the one year mark. But for families with serious issues, this time could be dark indeed. Children in less than optional emotional, as well as financial, circumstances—for whom school was a bright spot, even a lifeline—should be very much the nation’s concern. No story of the pandemic would be complete without them.
Joan Pendleton, North Andover
This article rang so true to me, as a parent of two young kids, a former teacher’s aide, and a mom who left her job to stay home with the kids this year. It has blown me away the things my kids have created and the new passions they’ve found, all while staying home. Learning happens everywhere. Emotional well-being is linked strongly to doing things you love and feeling like those things are valued. One of the most important things I’ll ever do is to just step back and let my kids explore the things that make them tick, whether that’s reading, making Barbie clothes, or taking apart Nerf guns. It’s been amazing to watch them.
Kris Patton, Cincinnati
Brooke Hauser’s “Losing My Job, Taking a Breath” (Perspective, February 28) was beautifully written—in fact, I read it twice. Hauser portrayed the working mother’s inner thoughts perfectly. We yearn to work, yet we yearn to care for our children. We crave contributing to society, yet we desire hours of picture books and board games with our toddlers. Without realizing it, I know Hauser and many women whose lives significantly changed during this pandemic are soaring above these hardships and shining even brighter!
Elizabeth LaFond Coppez, Southampton
Thanks to Katie Johnston for her lovely Connections essay, “Close to the Heart” (February 28). As a grandmother myself of three girls, I can relate to the strong bond between 5-year-old Faith and her Grandma Rita. I’m fortunate that my granddaughters live nearby, so we’ve enjoyed many porch visits (distanced and masked) during the pandemic. I’m certain that one thing Grandma Rita and I share is anxious anticipation of the day when we can safely wrap our granddaughters in a bear hug, kiss the tops of their heads, and breathe in their sweet scents. Thanks to the arrival of vaccines, that day is finally within our sights.
Monica Driscoll Stuart, Waltham
Our grandson lives in San Francisco, and we (Nana and Grampa) live in Massachusetts. Since a year ago, we have stayed connected in the same way as Faith and Grandma Rita. For several months, our grandson’s preschool was closed. I am a retired teacher, so our daughter asked if I could “pick up the slack” and meet virtually with our grandson three times a week for “Circle Time with Nana.” As disheartening as it is not to be together in person, I can’t help but think that these almost daily Zoom interactions are helping us bond far more than if life were to go on as before the pandemic. As the author writes, “It’s all beautiful.”
Pam Mele, Wrentham
Shortly after everything closed down and my husband and I couldn’t travel from Massachusetts to California to visit our daughter and her family, I began reading to my 4-year-old grandson, Tate, on FaceTime. I read to him most mornings before he goes to preschool and again while he’s eating dinner. I also have a sticker chart in my kitchen where he earns stickers for trying green veggies. He often takes me around the house to show me things and delights in showing me the neighborhood cats whenever they show up. I cannot wait to hug this little guy but, in the meantime, we have this wonderful daily ritual filled with love.
Carol Repose, Wayland
Grandparenthood is a later-in-life gift that we can accept lightly or choose to embrace fully. My own mother, like Grandma Rita, has become expert at this. Despite the miles between them, she has nurtured my children through their growing pains, celebrated their achievements with enthusiasm, and has even sent “love” boxes brimming with surprises. Faith, like my children, will be shaped by this special love and deep devotion in ways both immeasurable and profound. I hope, someday, to be this kind of Grandma.
Nancy Roth-Marsh, Dover
The piece—beautiful, funny, and so full of love— tells me what this technology can do for people of all ages. Thanks for sharing a lot of joy.
Richard Giordano, North Reading
I think Johnston could write a children’s picture book about Grandma Rita and Faith! Just a thought from a retired elementary teacher.
Judith Duncan, Bernardston
Staying Tuned In
As a paid church chorister even more dependent during the pandemic on gig income, [I would make] an addendum to Miss Conduct’s great response (February 28) to the request for volunteer gigs: “Beset as we all are, it is hard to switch even temporarily to volunteer virtual choir participation.” Then add “I’d like to do it this time, but really can’t commit to any volunteer activities right now.”
Ken McElheny, Brookline
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