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The Ha Family

“You can find magic wherever you look. Sit back and relax, all you need is a book.” — Dr. Seuss

“Hi, everyone. Welcome to Virtual Storytime with the Superhas!” Our family is dressed as superheroes soaring over Bakersfield, reading to kids we can’t see and doing it all in the middle of a school day. It’s not something anyone could have ever predicted — a time when handshakes, hugs and high fives feel like a distant memory.

COVID-19 has drastically changed the world’s social and economic landscape seemingly overnight.

The emotional stress, social isolation and financial hardships that many of us have faced can be especially challenging for children.

For many families, days that used to be filled with school pickups and drop-offs, sports practices, music lessons and trips to the grocery store suddenly turned into days that stretched into subsequent nondescript days.

As a mom, I wanted to find a way to do something proactive and fun during the pandemic to help other families with young children. So the kids and I began reading books every weekday, which later turned into a live event. It gave families a platform for connection and, at times, parents a chance to take a break. My husband, a local family physician, would occasionally join in when he wasn’t caring for patients.

We experimented with greenscreens, costumes, music and picture-in-picture. This unforeseen detour gave our children an opportunity to practice public speaking while reading books that we once read to them to other kids. Laughing through silly books such as “I Need a New Butt” and crying through old favorites like “The Kissing Hand” was a blessing we never expected.

We didn’t realize that what began as a desire to help was simply our family’s way of coping with stress and uncertainty.

During this difficult time, we’ve all been forced to make changes, create new routines and find ways to survive.

Some people bake, others renovate and some sew. For many, it’s a challenge just to make it through the day. There’s no right or wrong path through this pandemic. We’re all taking the necessary steps that we need to get by.

But perhaps we can emerge from this experience with more grace for others and more kindness for ourselves. When things are better, and that time will come, we can all share unique stories about our lives in the time of COVID. 

Opinions expressed in this column are those of Nina Ha.

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