Brightling is finally open again – and thank goodness, because we missed our little kiddos something awful.

When you decide to start a family, you know it’s a life-long commitment and with no time off. But COVID-19 has served up added layers of challenge for parents: the hyper-vigilance about virus transmission, the cabin fever, the home-schooling, the social isolation, on and on. 

I’ve been in frequent contact with our Brightling parents during the Centre’s closure, and I’m inspired by the creativity, resourcefulness, and deep well of love they’ve drawn on to get their families through. While this pandemic is causing untold loss, it has also shown us how strong we can be, each in our own way. I’m a chronic optimist, so part of my own pandemic coping mechanism is to focus on those silver linings – and it helps. 

Thank you to our Brightling parents, who have shown such grace and understanding as stress mounted and circumstances changed; and to the people who deliver the essential services we all need to keep moving. They’re helping keep our own hearts, minds, and bodies healthy during this pandemic.

While the Centre was closed, I pretended I was a principal on summer break, preparing my school for re-opening in the fall. (I secretly named my initiative “Triple B” – Brightling Becoming (even) Brighter!)

We sorted and cleaned all our early childhood equipment. We hired professional carpet and floor cleaners (oh, the sparkle of a freshly-waxed tile floor!). We decorated our front windows with bright painted flowers. We took over a new fenced yard adjacent to the Centre and developed a natural “discovery” playground in it, featuring a homemade mud kitchen, dozens of tree stumps, rain barrels, a playhouse, a sideways climbing wall, and a mural painted by a local artist.

Brightling did indeed get brighter – and now, we’re grateful to have its most important source of “bright,” the children, beginning to return.

The pandemic isn’t yet behind us, so we have additional new protocols based on provincial guidance and the amenities our facility makes possible. It’ll be less convenient than it used to be, but every effort is worth keeping our children, our families and the community around us safe. 

We’ll remember the fear and loss of COVID-19 our entire lives. But I’ll also be thankful for those silver linings, and can’t wait until we can all be back together at Brightling again.