Why? Why? Why? She plays in the grass alone with her Daddy close by, for one of the first times because those feet only learned to walk just short of six weeks ago. Oops! She falls, but that’s alright… she can get up again and again. Sun blazing, birds singing, a family playing merrily together. Not hers.
So close, yet so far.
Mommy is working; she is caring for children so small, tiny and fragile, more fragile still than her soft soles grazing the grassy, green ground. Miss her, does she? About that there can be no doubt.
So close yet so far.
She turns and looks their way. Laughter erupts as they run and embrace: that running, catching and swirling game sparks illusions of merry-go-rounds and candy-floss and bright lights and fun. For the older onlooker at least. For her it is all new; a game of delicious, discovery, like tasting that Easter egg for the first time; eyes light up as the taste buds rapturous applause engulfs the tantalising morsel. Tasting, touching…
So close yet so far.
An itching, burning desire to know or learn about all surrounding. Who and when can she hug?
Daddy is close and not so far. Hugs a plentiful there. Reach out and see.
Afterthought: With the strong possibility that schools re-open June, social distancing in pre-school, nursery and KS1 will be nigh on impossible. Children are anarchical spaniel puppies with curious noses for scents of all kinds. They want to touch, taste, smell, see, hear everything: even if it upsets the sense, the experience is approached eagerly for some or with cautious trepidation for others.
As a result of the very existence of children, working in schools with an acceptance of risk to all may become normalised. What else is the alternative? Will everyone wear PPE indefinitely? The PM’s announcement yesterday seemed to say: make your own decision about whether or not you go to work but we can’t protect you and your wage, your elderly relatives, or your children. New life is naturally curious and money is needed to sustain it in the system we inhabit. Without money, is there enough curiosity to find an alternative? And who will be held to account? The announcement suggested it won’t be the government and if current polls are accurate, 48% believe the PM is doing a good job. Courage to stand up to, or face the new normal is required. How curious will school leaders need to be and how many searching questions will need to be answered, in order to do the right thing?