A Saturday Caesura
It happened on Wednesday in a grocery store parking lot. Since the COVID closures, I’ve been working at the school on Wednesdays rather than at home, partly just to feel less isolated. To maximize the ‘day out,’ I stop for groceries on the way home, and a grocery list was on my mind when I got out of the truck that day.
I started walking towards the store, then paused when I heard someone call my name. I heard it again as two grade 12 students tumbled from a car nearby and rushed in my direction.
There were hugs — sincere and unreserved. “We don’t care,” they said, “we have to hug you.” The need for connection superseded the mandated social distancing.
There were also many I-miss-yous and it’s-so-good-to-see-yous and other words from them that almost made me cry.
It was sooo good to see them.
I know closing schools and keeping people apart have been necessary measures to save lives and flatten the curve so that our medical system can effectively manage this virus. I do, I really do. But my goodness, the absolute joy of seeing just two of my students face-to-face and knowing that they were just as thrilled to see me, gave me much to ponder on the drive home. And to be honest, part of that pondering included wondering if our physical distancing non-compliance was observed by someone inclined to report us or qualified to issue fines.
I’m sad that this even had to enter my thinking. I’m sad that my current students’ faces have been resized to fit little boxes on my Chromebook screen, when the life-sized versions are so, well, full of life.
I’m sad because we are made for and need connection and relationship. Social distancing is saving lives, but it is also shrivelling our spirits. I don’t think I realized just how much I have been affected by not being able to fully interact with others until that parking lot encounter. It continues to fill my heart and fuel my love for all the wonderful, generous, loving young people in my world.
I miss them, I really do.