October 4, 2022


  • My youngest daughter had her second shot last week and is finally fully vaccinated.
  • It feels like I’ve been waiting forever for this moment, and I don’t know where to go from here.
  • I don’t know what our limits are now, but we are ready to do more.

Last week, my youngest daughter received her second shot of Moderna Vaccine for covid19. We are now a fully vaccinated family, a statement that feels surreal commitment to words.

We waited forever, but our chance to book her date came suddenly and I didn’t hesitate. Unlike other chaotic times during this pandemic, I wasn’t skeptical or confused. I had no hard choices to weigh. There were no options, only 2 and a half years of memories led to a decision.

COVID has framed her life

I remember the details — too many of them. COVID has framed so many moments from her young life: the last day of daycare, her all-important naps, her first steps — an ominous delight, her first time wearing a mask, her difficult transitions with new people. Always, the threat of disease hung low like a cloud—if not directly, then indirectly by its impact on how we nurtured through constant tests of our fortitude.

As the mother of this family, I find it difficult to move on.

I am grateful that I had the combination of privilege and luck to protect my children, but I am deeply disturbed by how many people would not even try for us. As if we were buffs, power buffs, more examples of millennials peeling off their snow in adulthood, each challenge at a time “once in a lifetime”.

We also longed for normalcy. We wanted it to end too.

Parents of young children felt left behind

The pandemic is not over. Coming to this conclusion is a results-oriented cop of the kind that has made us parents of young children feel belittled for the past 2 ½ years.

I was stunned last summer when the Biden administration declared victory over COVID, the digital confetti flying on our phones as mask mandates were lifted across the country with little concrete information about when our kids would get their shots. .

The “back to the office” narrative—still without the option of vaccinating our children—came from the same effort to prioritize economic incentives over the American family. Both could have been completed if our schools had received the support they needed to operate safely and continuously, but this did not happen.

The truth is that I often felt like a burden on society and as if our children were burdens. We felt tolerated instead of supported by leaders, colleagues and sometimes even loved ones. It’s hard to rebuild trust from there. So now that the whole family is invited to the party, is there anything left to celebrate?

I don’t know what our limits are anymore

My whole family is vaccinated now. For now, we have a ‘before’ and an ‘after’, centered around this event, this moment, and everything that happens afterwards.

Our behavior changes: We let go. I’m not sure what our limits are anymore, but I have to give us every opportunity to push them. If not, I will hold on to my fear and resentment forever, or worse, push more of it onto my children.

They have lived under these boundaries and rules with little understanding of why we had them for so long. My girls got to see the inside of more stores, play at more friends’ houses, and ride the train somewhere new. But change is bigger than what they can or can’t do. I’m trying to give them back something they may not even realize they lost, or in my youngest’s case, something she never had: her full childhood.

Now that we are here, I want them to wish, hope and believe. Because maybe if they do, I’ll do it again.

Joel Bonepart is a lawyer and author. Her newsletter, Our tiny rebellions, celebrates women’s subtle victories to help them realize greater gains in their lives. Follow her Twitter.





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