Masked by Artemis Roehrig

Artemis Roehrig is a SDWG member from Hampshire County. She is the author of multiple picture books including: Are Pirates Polite?, The Grumpy Pirate, Do Jellyfish Like Peanut Butter? Amazing Sea Creature Facts (coauthored by Corinne Demas) and Storey Publishing’s Tattoos That Teach series.


“These are superhero masks.” I tell my four-year-old. “You wear this, it helps keep other people from getting sick.” We all like feeling safe. And we all like being superheroes.
We pass by unmasked college students on our walk.
“Why aren’t they wearing masks? Don’t they want to be superheroes too?” she asks.

My kids keep their masks on for a two-hour hike with their grandmother. One holds a stick between her and Grandma, instead of holding hands. One just skips ahead as though this were an ordinary day.

My friends’ toddler runs towards me, and then stops a bit away, remembering the new rule. I miss seeing her smile, although her eyes are big and beautiful and confused, peeking out above her mask. I miss scooping her up. I hope she won’t be too big for me to scoop up when we can touch again.

“Did you know that instead of staying six feet away, you could just pretend there are three scooters in between us?” exclaims my daughter excitedly. Her eyebrows punctuate her sentence. I’d never paid attention to her eyebrows before I wasn’t able to see her lips.