This morning, I sewed new masks for two of my kids (the two older ones who will actually agree to wearing masks, the youngest, the three year old does not care to wear a mask so we don’t take him places where he might need to be indoors) and myself. I’ve only made myself one and the “VOTE” painted on the front feels a bit out of date now.

For the girls, I’ve made a few masks over the past year or so. Today, Ms8yo pulled out the older ones and laid them next to the ones I made this morning. “Look how much better these new ones are, Mom!” Everyone needs a hype-person like my Ms8yo.

Three different sizes, two different styles, everyone picked their own fabric from our stash.

She wasn’t wrong. In the rush of trying to get everyone masks last year, I slap-dashed a few together. Today, we reminisced about how we couldn’t even get elastic last year. I’d used stretchy hair ties for them to loop over their years, which are predictably rough especially on little ears. And then even when I was able to get proper elastic, it was still too heavy a stiff. We were eventually able to get our hands on some soft, light elastic like those found on disposable masks. (For a while, I had been cutting it off the old ones, but quickly realized that that is part of the mask that wears out the fastest so it wasn’t really worth it to try to recycle it.)

I made ones in two styles today. Both of them agreed that the old ones I’d made that mimicked surgical style ones usually ended up in their mouths. They prefer either the curved ones with a seam down the middle or the “3D” ones where the cloth is held pretty far from one’s lips.

I did recycle some bendy metal nose pieces and inserted those into these new masks. So when my hype-daughter said these ones were better she meant design, materials, and comfort.

Truth be told, I don’t know that I imagined I’d still be making masks at this point in this year. But my husband and I talked about how masks are probably something we won’t give up too soon, even perhaps once our kids are able to get vaccinated. “I liked not being sick this past winter,” he told me. Same.

And it was soothing, in a way, to be sitting at my sewing machine again, cutting and piecing together fabric that my kids had chosen from my stash. One selected the remnants from the first skirt I ever made for myself, ages ago. It’s nice when the masks can make me think about something other than being sick. And it’s nice to feel competent at making something, and something that might possibly be keeping my kids safer. We’ve realized that it’s still going to be a while — perhaps this winter — before our kids can be vaccinated and so in some ways not a lot has changed for us over the past year. We’ve had second thoughts about a lot of activities and things we’d otherwise feel comfortable doing. At the very least, I suppose, all the things we’ve had to do differently over the past year have started to feel a bit more like second nature. The new normal isn’t so new anymore and maybe that’s a good thing, maybe that’s the best we can hope for at this point in time.

God willing, we’ll get there, though. We’ll get there.

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