September 3, 2020 will live in my mind as the moment I think children around the world, at least my world understood the true definition of courage.
That day courage looked like letting go of our children’s hands, fighting back the tears of the grief of the loss of a normal first day of school wading through crowded halls with school supplies in hand. Parents smiling at each other through glassy eyes. Telling our children it is going to be ok. You get to see your new teacher, old friends and a familiar place.
Masked, labeled and fresh children walked with courage. Not knowing how long they would be in classes as normal as they were allowed. Nervous to let go of our hands and walk bravely to a new line of classmates.
Oh the courage of those teachers to lay down their own worries and stand with our kids. They carry them. They carry them when they wake up, when they first saw their name on the class list, as they drive home. Using their eyes to smile big, they greet our kids.
Then you started to hear the sound that could have woke a thousand.
The cheers of seeing each other again.
The jumps of joy.
The sound of sweet little courage bubbling over from half a year away.
Schools around the world came alive with irresistible joy.
The sounds of glass half full that fills the souls of our children.
We don’t know how long it will last. How loud the sounds will stay as many may slip away home.
Hope that courage will spark in hearts of moms and dads.
Bravery in the souls of children yearning for childhood again.
For the smell of fresh pencils and a teacher who adores them, classmates to play with and learn from.
It won’t be the same for us again. Likely never.
Not because of a virus.
But because we know now at yet such a younger age what it is to lose something precious, something we took for granted.
School yards and friends
Teachers who are experts
Fun and games.
The right of passage to learn what it is to have courage. To be brave.
Perhaps many will disagree. Many will argue that it shouldn’t be this way.
But let’s not get political. Let us not be full of fear.
They are watching.
Those little sweet eyes of hope.
Their voices will take after ours.
So why don’t we be brave together. Stand together, 6 feet apart and cheer on our heros.
Our kids. Our teachers. Our custodians. The faithful few.
My brave might not be your brave. But this is a moment in time where we can decide to be remembered for hope or remembered for discord.
A moment in history.
I closed my eyes and listened to the sweet sound of laughter that warm September afternoon. Lines of children forming, watching out for their parents at the edge of the Autumn scented grasses.
And I knew I’d given them a gift. One they might not think about now. But one that in years gone by when they study 2020, they will remember what it was like to come….
That day felt like the most familiar.
The most I’d sensed in what felt like eternity.
I needed to be mom again, not teacher too.
We’d all given those teachers the best we could. Our kids to fill a semblance of normal. Of a familiar in the fog of a year upended.
It might not be the learning environment of days gone by. But for many children, it is better than what their kitchen table was giving them or even could.
With our glasses half full, we go forward with courage.
Because those sweet little voices of hope need it.
We need them to courageously show us the way forward.