Log in Subscribe
Inside Out

Unmoored

Jeanne Sager
Posted 9/14/21

I expected to be sad on the first day of school. This is how it’s always been as summer has faded into fall and late night movies have given way to early morning wake-ups.

What I …

This item is available in full to subscribers.

Please log in to continue

Log in
Inside Out

Unmoored

Posted

I expected to be sad on the first day of school. This is how it’s always been as summer has faded into fall and late night movies have given way to early morning wake-ups.

What I didn’t expect was the utter sense of unmooring that’s taken hold in my center.

Last Wednesday marked the first time my daughter had left the house in the morning to climb on a school bus in 18 months.

One of many families who opted for remote school in the 2020-2021 school year, I recognize a privilege in being able to have that choice. Many were forced to do what we did willingly.

I recognize too that we have a series of privileges, from my ability to work from home to my daughter’s age (this summer marked the big 1-6 birthday) to their ability to not only guide themselves through at-home schooling but to excel, landing on the superintendent’s list without ever setting foot inside a classroom.

I say all of this not to brag but to acknowledge that my feelings of devastation are not matched by hundreds of thousands, perhaps even millions of parents who saw a return to “normal” school weeks as relief from a year and a half of impossible hardships at every turn.

Some parents celebrated the start of school this year with five full days in the classroom and the ability to load their children on a school bus in time to drive off to work.

I salute them and the sacrifices they’ve had to make in the past year and a half.

Still, we are different.

Watching that bus pull away felt like a loss.

Maybe it was the marking of the end of the time we’ve spent together, although I would have thought the summer job and the time it took my child out of the house would have swept away those feelings.

Or maybe it’s because as my child enters the 11th grade, I realized we had just one more “first day” left before there are no more, before we have to say our tearful goodbyes on some college lawn.

Maybe it’s because the world still feels topsy-turvy like a heartbeat that’s ever so slightly arrhythmic. Things are almost normal, but not quite there.

Or maybe, just maybe, it’s a compilation of all three and none of them at the same time. Maybe this is simply part of the ups and downs that comes with watching a piece of your heart walk around outside of your body.

Comments

No comments on this story | Please log in to comment by clicking here