Today was the first time, amidst these 8 + weeks of “sheltering in place” “staying home” “quarantining” – today was the first day I cried.
And I had to really think about what it is that made so much emotion swell up within me – enough to make me cry?
Today, my 8 year old and I went to get her “stuff” that she left in her classroom on March 13 – fully anticipating her return a week later after spring break. This plastic garbage bag was full of treasures. Things we thought lost – like headphones and PE shoes – now found. Treasures of art pieces that were supposed to be hung for the open house and class projects halfway finished.
And as we pulled up – and stayed in our car – we held up a sign with her name and room number on it and her teacher rushed to greet us at the car. She fed the bags of goodies and treasures in through the car window and Ellie gave her flowers, a box of her favorite Girl Scout cookies and a handwritten card that proclaimed her thanks and love for this woman who cared for her more hours each day during the school day than I did. She told Ellie how much she enjoyed her in class and how she will see her again and see her soon.
And then – her teacher and I locked eyes, over the tops of our covid19 regulated masks – and didn’t say a word. We both choked and waved. And just said. “Love you”. “Thank you”. “Goodbye”.
Why is this the moment that has hurt me the most through all of this? She’s not a senior on high school or college. She’s not missing prom or graduation. She just moving on from 2nd grade.
It’s because I believe human encounters are what God put us here for. We are made in the image of God and therefore when we encounter ANYONE there is a bit of God’s love and light we can learn from and soak in. And part of that process is the loving and the letting go.
I am a person who likes the rites of passage – ends of school years when you can work up to letting go and moving on. Where you have field day and end of year class parties and can properly hug and thank and make promises of continued contact.
The waving goodbye through windows and behind masks hides the love, breaks the pattern and doesn’t allow my heart to properly process.
I know. – these are selfish – selfish thoughts and words. These are my feelings. Ellie was not as sad as I. She was just so so SO happy to see her teacher.
But I can’t even begin to tell you, in some ways, how good it feels to feel. To be overcome with emotion to the point my eyes have leaked. These past 8 weeks have made me almost numb. Numb to the stationary life. The life without a light at the end of my tunnel and the gray dull of the unknown ahead.
So even though I was upset, mad, sad…. I am also thankful for so much love to be present between a teacher and a student and me… the mom behind the mask.
And a little less numb.