Monday, August 24, 2020

Are We the Trees?

I recently spent ten minutes talking on the phone with my son’s new teacher. He knows her. She knows him. But I still felt compelled to spend ten minutes explaining his allergies, demeanor, and how he’s handled these last few months.

I’m scared for the school year ahead. Even so, I forgot to ask how many kids are in the class. It was lost on me to ask about COVID-19 protocol. Because in between catching up on email, paying bills, answering text messages, cleaning my house, trying to get my son excited to go back to school without his sister, and explaining to said sister why she’s delayed three weeks for her first day, I am craving the ability to root myself in some semblance of normal. To just talk allergies and demeanors. 

If you’re in the Cedar Rapids, Iowa area right now, you’ve grown used to seeing trees, branches and limbs all around these last few weeks. In fact, they’re downright obstructing our views around each corner. 

They’re leaning. Some uprooted. Some displaced. Some are bleeding. Some have fallen face first into the closest house, seeking some amount of comfort, I’m sure.

The trees are not okay.

A friend asked the other day after I confessed my overwhelm; “what has you overwhelmed?”

All I could muster up was to explain that it’s the sheer magnitude of it all. I’m leaning. Broken limbs all around, and I don’t even know which way to fall.

When those 140 mph winds came tearing through my community, I finally let go of all I had been trying to hold on to for the last six months.

Now I can see all the pieces scattered on the ground around me. And I know I'm not alone. 

Do I send my kids back to school? How can I work and parent? Should I be volunteering more? Do I submit a claim? Should I even be feeling any of this considering how well my family fared? Wait, should I hire a teacher? Am I doing enough to combat systematic racism in this country? Where are everyone’s masks? When does school start? Are sports bras acceptable to wear each day? Are my son’s tears normal or a sign that all this is wearing on him too? What’s a date night?

We are not okay. 

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