Back to school. Back to life.

Two weeks ago, on August 31st, my son started fourth grade. Worrying unnecessarily, I thought the six months of watching TV, playing video games, and working out at home with a personal trainer–instead of a group–had altered his ability to get in a routine.

On the contrary, my son woke up, ate breakfast–at the table instead of the couch–and got ready without complaining once. Meanwhile, I packed his lunch bag and reminded him, yelling from the kitchen, to puff his asthma inhaler before brushing his teeth.

Although the morning ritual was pretty much the same as the one pre-pandemic, we made the decision to skip the bus ride. I couldn’t help but look at the once-loved yellow bus, as a giant Petri dish. Perhaps the most lasting effect of Covid-19 is that we have inevitably turned into germaphobes.

As we arrived at the school, I couldn’t help but feeling a sheer happiness I hadn’t felt in months. The faces of kiddos and parents on foot–covered by masks–or in the car line, were lit with excitement.

I am sure some of them were anxious and scared too. However, the desire to accomplish some degree of normalcy, was a price that we were all willing to pay.

Nevertheless, the happy return to the brick-and-mortar did not depend solely on the decision of trusting parents. Without the compassion of teachers and members of the administration of my county’s school board, we wouldn’t be where we are today.

It was their devotion to teaching and their love for the students that made the beginning of a new school year a dream come true. For months they were in the eye of a political and ideological storm that flooded–and continues to flood–the airwaves with grand-standing positions that considered everybody’s impact, all the while omitting the children’s.

As long as I can remember, the speeches of politicians, environmentalists, activists, celebrities, and many others, almost always include this phrase to appeal and justify their causes or choices: “It is for our children’s future.”

So, I ask, when did opening schools around the United States for in-person instruction become the exception?

Attending school is one of the most important aspects of a healthy childhood–especially young children–regardless of socio-economic status. Kids need to be around other kids to mirror behaviors and develop their humanity. As much as children need to learn math and the ABC’s, they need to learn to play and laugh.

Moreover, if we consider the special needs of vulnerable and low income populations, keeping children out of school means they are probably going to bed hungry. According to the United States Department of Agriculture, almost 30 million students were fed daily through the National School Lunch Program before the pandemic hit.

But, above all, when poor kids are not in school, they are most likely neglected or in the hands of abusive caretakers. Almost 20 million children were born in single parent homes in 2019 (16 million to single mothers.)

Therefore, if the parent has to go to work to keep his or her job, the young are left alone, in the care of their elder siblings, or simply cared for by strangers.

The sad reality is that, for a vast majority of impoverished kids, school is the only safe haven where they are treated with love and are told that their lives matter.

Based on the local Covid-19 data of cases and transmission, one would think that the decision of sending our sons and daughters to school should be ours, the parents’. Unfortunately, millions around the US found that pure politics and media expert pundits are the ones in charge.

Yesterday afternoon I joined the virtual meeting of the School Advisory Council (SAC) of my son’s elementary school. I have been a member for three years, and it was great to see familiar faces.

Besides reviewing bylaws and announcements, the best was the Principal’s comment about how proud she was of the faculty, but especially of the students. She said that they have risen to the occasion, wearing their masks, and following all other procedures without protesting. It truly is amazing that the little people are showing they are the adults in the room.

Thank you for reading and sharing.

Xiomara Spadafora 

Control What Matters

Copyright: Good Crazy Woman Pictures

There is a saying in self-help literature that I try to keep present in my life: control what you can control. However, I recently found a pearl of wisdom that goes a step farther. Out of all the things I can control, I should only focus on those that matter.

The natural fear of contracting COVID-19, or having a loved one becoming severely ill from it, has launched reactions in all corners of the world. We have changed our lifestyles to cope with the new reality and have a sense of control.

In the midst of all this, the media amplifies sentiments of doomsday 24/7 instead of providing relevant information that could prevent the death toll from rising, such as the findings of recent investigations. Continue reading “Control What Matters”

Aged To Perfection


Last week I finally turned 40. I say it this way because I am the runt of the litter in my besties group and I couldn’t wait to get on the fourth floor!

Kidding aside, I have been 40, mentally, for quite some time because the life that God gave me has been everything but dull. Each year has truly counted by two.

On the day of my birthday, I had the privilege to celebrate with my adoring husband, son, mama, cousin, and the rest of my family in Colombia via Zoom. We cut the cake, sang Happy Birthday, and cried remembering the day when I was born. Continue reading “Aged To Perfection”

I Choose Solidarity

silver metal round gears connected to each other
Photo by Flickr on

It was just a matter of time before the decision to reopen the U.S. economy was going to create a giant gulf between us. Just what we needed. Another wedge of division among Americans.

Those in the camp of going back to work and enjoying some freedoms are being portrayed as selfish and science deniers by those who want to stay home until a Covid-19 vaccine is ready.

In other words, the new fight is between two social media mantras: “Civil liberties under the law” vs. “You want people to die.Continue reading “I Choose Solidarity”

The Voice of The Earth

closeup photo of brown and gray cicada on twig
Photo by Egor Kamelev on

Writing for the past few weeks has been impossible for me. It seems my muse is in quarantine as well, but it will come back. I can only hope. Meanwhile, I have been enjoying the idleness and listening to the voice of the planet.

Earth is speaking. The oceans and beaches are cleaner. Dolphins are seen jumping close to shores. Birds can be heard singing at now silent iconic urban parks. And at night, the sky glows with the light of stars that before were invisible to me.

As I was thinking about the voice of the Earth, I remembered a short story I wrote in September 2018. The title is, “The Voice of The Cicada” and it won second place in a Spanish magazine contest. I have never published it because it is part of an anthology I have been working for a while.

I wrote this story after I fell in love with the landscapes and foothills of the eastern Colombian state named Casanare. I visited two years ago and spent a week with one of my uncles who owns a rice plantation in a small town called Nunchía. I hope you like it and share it. I give you,

The Voice of The Cicada

Continue reading “The Voice of The Earth”

A Distant Happy Birthday


Last Monday, March 30th, my third-grader started online learning, following the long, stretched Spring break due to the Coronavirus pandemic. Needless to say, it was a nightmare.

The website collapsed a couple of times adding to my son’s anxiety; he randomly clicked the mouse of the computer like a mad-mad.

I miss my school“, he said, his eyes filling with tears. I didn’t know what to do, so I simply sat next to him and guided him through the day’s assignments. The next morning, I sent an email to his teacher asking if she could send him a message of encouragement. A few minutes later, she invited the entire class to a video call.

Once my son heard his teacher’s voice and saw the faces of a few of his buddies, his face lit up like fireworks. Seeing his smile brought me to tears. Immediately after finishing the call, my son began Tuesday’s tasks without complaining once. Continue reading “A Distant Happy Birthday”

The Working From Home Challenge

turned on laptop on bed
Photo by Daria Shevtsova on

Daily life has changed quickly–and dramatically–in the United States and around the world. The planet’s economies are trying desperately to keep going and forego the financial devastation that is being forecast.

Therefore, working from home is as good as it gets for many companies, big and small, to keep their workforce employed and their services and products available in the marketplace.

However, as more people are glued to their laptops and cellphones (yours truly included), there are a few things to keep in mind to maintain healthy, not only mentally, but also physically. Continue reading “The Working From Home Challenge”

Fear’s Nature

lion head
Photo by Jakob on

If you want to listen to the podcast of this blog, click here!

Last week will remain in my memory for many years. Not because of the exponential raise of coronavirus Covid-19 cases around the world, nor the closing of the borders to contain its propagation.

This past week will remain in my memory because of the irrational reaction of millions of people on the face of this global threat: the purchase, in bulk, of toilet paper.

Watching pictures of empty shelves and endless lines outside of supermarkets are not new to me. On the contrary, they are a reminder of our annual hurricane season in Florida, the state where I reside. Continue reading “Fear’s Nature”

The mystery behind Leap Year

birthday wallpaper
Photo by Ylanite Koppens on

If you want to listen to the podcast of this blog, click here.

The media bombarding about Coronavirus or COVID-19 these days is practically impossible to escape. Nevertheless, I tried diverting my attention by reading about other subjects, such as the mystery behind the Leap Year.

Planet Earth’s tour around the Sun actually takes 365.25 days, not 365. Therefore, every four years, the second month has an extra day called Leap Day. In other words, February 29th is a surplus, and to be born on a day like this is definitely special.

According to the History Channel, only five million people have been born on this day,  making the odds equivalent to 1 in 1,461 babies.

Continue reading “The mystery behind Leap Year”

The Coronavirus’ patient profile

two test tubes
Photo by Martin Lopez on

Writer’s note: This blog has been updated on February 24th to show the cases data increase since the original publishing date, February 16th, 2020.

The Coronavirus–recently renamed COVID-19–epidemic maintains its grip on China. Based on the latest data released by the World Health Organization, the numbers continue to be alarming. However, Chinese officials changed the reporting criteria of Coronavirus cases this past week .

Therefore, patients who exhibit the symptoms such as fever, cough, and shortness, but have not been tested or tested negative, are now included under the new category “clinical cases”.

Let’s take a look at these reports from WHO. To read the daily report click here. Continue reading “The Coronavirus’ patient profile”