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20 April 2020

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Realistically, hugging like you describe will be off-limits until the vast majority of the populace has been inoculated with a proven vaccine against Covid-19.

Meantime, maybe little kids can get some of their hugging needs met by hugging stuffed animals more. (Perhaps Yann can provide some from his collection for Gabriel).

A friend's five-year-old grandson is afraid to go outside, at all. I know the entire family, and they are not alarmists but instead gently explain the reasoning behind each new stricture. Still, this is the belief the child has settled upon. I think about my younger siblings during the Cuban missile crisis when we lived in a Texas refinery town thought to be a target. Dad had been at Bikini Atoll during atomic bomb tests. Our shoe box of family photos included mushroom cloud photos Dad had brought home with him. He'd been on his LST after the tests, swabbing radioactive water off the deck. He knew what we were facing and DID scare us. I was thirteen and in charge of sealing the doors to the hallway once we'd all gathered there--keeping out anyone who tried to enter after that, including him, if he didn't make it home from work in time--but my youngest siblings were five and seven. I don't think they had any lasting effects, but will today's children?

That is so sad. I am sure your sister-in-law handled it beautifully with kind words of encouragement.

I read an article recently (I will try to find it) that many children will look back at this time with fondness, not fear, because of the time their families will have been spending together...which is sadly so rare in our culture. Instead of all the members of the family, each with individual busy schedules scattering to school, sports, clubs, or friends, they are now eating all their meals together, playing games together, just being together. As annoying and exhausting as we might find this in the short-term, (I think of my niece with 3 littles at home while her doctor hubby is at work...she's exhusted, I can see it in her face) in the long term there might be blessings waiting to be discovered.

Yes, I have been sad over this one lately. I miss hugs from my grandson and daughter and friends. I stopped at a friends house on Saturday to drop off a package and stepped back so we could greet each other from a distance and a wave through the window. She gives the best hugs and she needed one, but I couldn't give one to her.

I have an idea to share. My niece is a pediatric nurse working in a pediatric hospital. As you pointed out, kids (and adults) want to hug and be hugged. When children enter the hospital, their nurses teach them how to give a virtual hug. You put your right hand on your heart and pat a couple times. This is great for greeting and saying goodbye. The kids learn quickly and accept this new norm. Is it perfect? No. But it is safe. If the nurse pairs it with smiles and a loving voice, the kids adapt. They use this same greeting for colleagues and so kids don’t feel singled out.

I am a special education elementary school teacher in California. I miss the physical presence of my students and the ability to give a pat on the shoulder to students who truly struggle. I teach in a very low socio-economic area and school is the best part of their day. It pains me to know I will not see them until August ( maybe) and that my 6th graders will be leaving without any goodbyes. Just sad overall, but I understand the need for the schools to close. Love your blog....

God willing, temporary only.

Corey, I see the beauty in this situation as being: 1. The joy that child had in seeing your SIL, for this tells me of the love that child must regularly feel as a student in her classroom (what a gift she is giving!) and 2. The understanding the child had and her ability to self-regulate in that moment. As a school counselor, I know that there is great work ahead of me in helping my students deal with the trauma they may have experienced during this time, yet I have been encouraged by the updates I have received from my students. While not easy and they miss school, they are managing the time as best they can and are reaching out to teachers, principals, and school counselors to make connections and to find resources they need for food, health, and well-being. Across the nation, teachers have risen above and beyond the situation and are maintaining relationships with students where they can. That is a beautiful thing. xoxo

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