what parents say
“She has only been to church twice since March 2020, both times masked. She constantly worries me that we have become too lax, but we are the only ones still masking our unvaccinated son in closed public spaces. I have resorted to paying my children $1 each time they wear a mask in closed public places.” — Kristen Green Wiewora, Searcy, Ark.
“Leave the children alone. Perfect the vaccine (which usually takes 10 years!) and then get the kids involved. I think the earliest a child should get this vaccine is in their late teens.” —Patricia Verma, Reno, Nevada.
“We are hardly going anywhere. When my 2 1/2 year old invited her first friend over to play, he kept touching her to see if she was real. It’s heartbreaking, scary, sad, nothing I expected from parenthood when I got pregnant in 2019.” — Lauren Klinger, St. Petersburg, Florida.
“Imagine Groundhog Day, but full of worry, stress, loneliness, angst. She doesn’t know all that she’s missing, and I’m thankful for that. But I do, and that’s what makes me sad. —Angela Smith, Colorado Springs
“It’s exhausting and heartbreaking. Every day, I hold back tears when I get her ready for nursery. We haven’t left our home state, seen the inside of an airport, or been in a room with more than 12 people since February 2020.” —Katie Nelb, McKinney, Texas
“I am not convinced of the efficacy and possible side effects.” — Adrian Bryant, Willowbrook, Ill.
Many wrote about how the pandemic had exposed social divisions, a lack of trust in government and public health, and a lack of empathy for others. A New York City mother wrote that she and her young son often wait 20 minutes to use the elevator in their apartment building alone, rather than risk traveling with a passenger without a mask.
One parent in Denver wrote: “We are a nation of selfish children, except for the children themselves.”
Katie Nelb, an information technology worker and mother of a 3-year-old in McKinney, Texas, wrote: “I have friends and acquaintances who got on planes, went to events and wandered through grocery stores knowing they had Covid or while they had symptoms but did not want to be tested. And since I know that many people are doing these things while my son has no protection, my family is forced to continue living in lockdown after two and a half years.”
Alli Chan is a pediatric intensive care nurse in St. Louis. Her husband is an emergency room doctor. The youngest is almost 3 years old; her 6-year-old son has immunodeficiencies.