“I don’t have a strip in me about going back to school this year while the pandemic is still raging,” I said, like a liar. Like this entire comic from the beginning hasn’t been about me processing how fucked up it is that parenting is just one long tired exhalation before reminding yourself that you just have to figure out how to do the damn thing anyway.

Momo’s going back to in-person school tomorrow, after having pulled her out to homeschool her last year. She’s returning to a surge that is worse than before, to fewersafety precautions than before, into a world where people are tired and acting even more recklessly than before, but we’re doing it out of optimism – that in a few months she’ll be vaccinated too, and weighing the risk of a few months of high risk against the benefit of a whole year of in-person school. Every parent I speak to about this just shares the same defeated shrug, like… fuck. We have to do it.

It’s just, one more goddamn thing that we have to take into ourselves. One more thing to prepare for, to try to teach our kids about, to hope that we did it well enough, because no matter what, no matter how hard you planned and prepared for this, no matter how good your parenting and how sacred your rituals, at some point you have to just. Let them go. And know they’re going to get sick. And pray that it’s not too bad. It’s not the big one. Because you can’t good parenting your way out of this. You can’t prepare for everything.

I handled seeing her off for her first day of daycare. I handled her first day of school. I handled immunizations, and hospital trips, and allergic reactions. I’m getting good at handling things. And I just. Have to watch her walk into school tomorrow, knowing that all I can tell her is to be safe. To have fun.

And then I just have to hope.