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Dear Reader: Pandemic Life in Six Words

Editor’s note for ParentMap’s October 2020 issue

Patty Lindley

Published on: September 29, 2020

Girl spells out the words "Stay Home" with tiles

“Most complicated school year in history.”

Since 2006, Larry Smith of The New York Times has been challenging readers to distill their lives in six words, a one-liner he calls the six-word memoir. The most memorable of these, he says, bubble forth from our toughest and most joyous experiences. If nothing else, this pandemic has given rise to some of our toughest moments — as individuals, as families, as communities both small and global. With no shortage of fodder to inspire the exercise, I invited six-word observations from fellow ParentMap editors and contributors. I am guessing you will relate.

“The ultramarathon we never trained for.”

Each October, ParentMap produces an “Every Child”-themed magazine issue and resource fair event to embrace and support the developmental and educational journeys of children of all abilities. While the pandemic makes this year exceedingly challenging for every family navigating through circumstances well beyond their control, those with children who have special needs or learning differences are challenged significantly to replace in-person services and therapies for their children — not to mention the familiarity, comfort and respite those learning supports provide. This month’s feature story by Malia Jacobson notes one upside to this struggle: the opportunity to build a wellspring of resilience that will benefit all families and learners well beyond the pandemic.

“No joke: Expectations are premeditated resentments.”

As I edited the stories for this month’s issue, a through-line theme stood out: To be present for our children, no matter our circumstances, we must not fail to prioritize self-care. But don’t take my word for it — rely instead on the trusted authority of Laura Kastner, Ph.D., Sayna Pelini, Ph.D., and homeschooling mom Tera Schreiber.

“Song of 2020: ‘You’re on mute.’”

As you read this month’s issue, I hope you heed this message from our wise contributors: While this may not be the time to aim for exceptional goals, that doesn’t mean that we can’t support our kids (and ourselves!) in patching together a memorable and meaningful school year. Just remember to unmute.

As for me? This about sums up my mundane memoir these days: “Plaid pajama bottoms, you get me.”

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