First Day Back

We knew Monday would be special when our third grade granddaughter Zofia went back inside her school for the first time in a year. My wife and I took selfies of the three of us before I dropped the masked Zofia into a funnel of protocols. Suddenly I realized this was an even bigger moment than when I walked her to her first day of Kindergarten. Zofia’s mother had the same experience when she did the pick-up after the half day session. She phoned me when they got home to tell me (three times) how surprisingly emotional the experience was. We probably should have expected strong feelings, considering the Pandemic tornado endlessly swirling around us. We can no longer take for granted the simple act of going to school. I have only a few memories of dropping my own children at school because my wife generally handled that activity. I do remember taking our oldest son to college but cannot recall if we said goodbye to his mother at the airport or at home. The memorable parting actually occurred at the airport four months later when our son returned to college after the holidays. He had unintentionally shocked my wife by casually referring to Virginia as “home.” After he boarded his flight, I turned to my wife and was shocked to see tears streaming down her face. She now knew he was gone for good. And she was right. For nine years, he lived in Virginia while we resided in Kansas and Washington State. We saw him on vacations and holidays but everything would be forever different. Sometimes the emotional moments jump out and grab you when you pause and realize just how big the turning point is.

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