Last week, a 'Children Not Allowed' sign in bold capitals greeted me as I arrived to carry out a return to work assessment for a small business owner. It grated on me but, biting my tongue, I had to accept this had become the 'new normal'.
If a business owner attempted to put up such a sign for any other age profile, race, or ethnicity they would be instantly ostracised.
From the beginning of this pandemic, however, children have been fair game and since the term 'vectors' entered our vocabulary, they were helplessly labelled 'high risk'.
The inclement weather over the weekend gave us a brief glimpse into the horror that lockdown would have been had it not been for the sun-kissed April and May we have just enjoyed.
But even with a thankful return to blue skies this week, the collective patience is beginning to wane. Clamours for a speedier path to recovery are beginning to drown out the deference shown towards our politicians and health professionals to date.
Yesterday, when out for a morning walk, I watched a group of children with their parents puck a sliotar around outside the grounds of the local GAA club. Away from any passers-by and as safe as you could ask.
Similar scenes will have been evident this week across the country, as people in their ones and twos emerge from lockdown to begin once again enjoying their favourite past-times.
Pat Spillane spoke vehemently at the weekend about how our children should be back out on our pitches by now. As if it were that easy. In truth, we have a few much simpler hurdles to clear first before that can even be considered, irrespective of what the GAA might want.
The reality is that our children have suffered more than most over the past three months. Our alleged 'super carriers' have been confined to the home place, with parents, predominantly mothers, being asked to simply make do.
Refused entry to shops, feared on public walkways and denied access to formal education or childcare services. A game of football or hurling has been the least of the problems.
In hindsight, the heavy-handed approach towards our youth might prove to have been unnecessary. Regardless, our decision-makers deserve the benefit of the doubt and we need to continue to comply with their guidelines, difficult as they have been at times.
Because, ultimately, what we are experiencing at present is about trust. Trust in our politicians and health professionals to make the right decisions that we can follow. Decisions based on fact and made in the best interests of the compliant many, and not the vocal few.
You only must look across the waters each side of us to see the appalling alternative. With communities across the UK and US pitted against each other by polarised politics, our simmering discontent is a panacea by comparison.
That is why, difficult as it is to be a parent at present, we must still be guided by these same voices when it comes to re-introducing our children back out in the public.
Before we can consider allowing parents bring their children back to our GAA pitches, we need to feel comfortable bringing them into the shop for an ice-cream. Something I have not done in nearly three months. With a summer still ahead, things like Cúl Camps and other gatherings for children will start coming up in conversations. Highlights of the year for many.
Yet before we can even countenance a decision on these, our guiding voices need to publicly begin reversing the apprehension towards our children that has beset us from the beginning. With evidence mounting to dispel concerns around their contagious impact, hopefully this will not be too far away.
Until then, we must do the best we can within the terms allowed. To be fair to the business owners who felt compelled to put up the 'Children Not Allowed' sign, they turned out to be eminently good people, simply doing their best to keep their business viable and staff employed.
Having gone to significant lengths and cost to ensure their premises complied with the Government's protocols, they felt the sign was a necessary evil to satisfy the apprehension of their older clientele.
At the end of my visit, we agreed that it might strike a better tone to take down the sign and entrust the staff to deal with the matter in a more compassionate manner.
One small step towards hearing the laughter of our children in public again. Something we all need and can hopefully look forward to more of in the weeks ahead.