I’m fairly sure I know why Anna Wintour wears sunglasses all the time. Articles about her say it has to do with lighting during interviews, or eye sensitivity, or just her wish to remain secretive and mysterious and not have people know what she’s thinking. I am pretty sure I know the truth though.
School began for me about three weeks ago. Planning for the beginning of school began in March, when we closed rather unexpectedly due to COVID-19. There was no Spring break, no Summer break, and while yes, there were afternoon naps, it was a constant “on call” and wondering when the next shoe would drop–would it be a construction boot? A loafer? Or a black stiletto with a red sole? Not just for me, but for several of us, fielding zoom meetings, budget brainstorming, WebEx meetings, district meetings, watching press briefings, fielding emails, and loads of other things we wouldn’t normally be handling during the “summer” no matter what else was going on in the world.
I blogged about our Season of Sacrifice last week…or was it earlier this one? I don’t even know now. I wrote about granting grace to one another. I wrote about kindness and understanding. I wrote about frustration and sadness and overwhelm. I wrote about taking Attitude Adjustment Walks (AAWs). None of that has changed. It’s still our season of sacrifice…this one will be longer. A lot longer. And for those of us who feel all the feels, for everyone all the time, it’ll be even harder.
I take my dog to the park almost every morning and evening. Last night, I waited too long and who knew? It gets pretty dark around 7:30 now. This morning’s walk was really quite nice–still fairly dark, but calm. Tonight’s walk, while earlier and still light out, was…frantic. Between answering phone calls, responding to texts and messages, dodging kids playing baseball and soccer, kids playing unsupervised and running at all the dogs (mine included) while their parents were checking Facebook, children walking dogs bigger than they are and weren’t able to control, and a kid on a bike riding at Mach 12 trying to mow me and the dog down while grinning like Scut Farkus as he blew past a second time laughing, I finally just stopped, sat down in the grass with my dog, and cried.
I cried because of all the questions I have no answers for. I cried because I don’t have the ability to make anyone’s life easier. I cried because I can’t fix any of the things. I cried because some parents are afraid, some parents are pissed, and others think we’re just twiddling our thumbs by not being fully in person right now. I cried because I don’t want to be on the news…for anything. I don’t want a reporter saying that someone didn’t use the right procedure, cleaner, disinfectant, mop, or whatever and someone else got sick. I don’t want to have to call a class-worth of families to tell them to quarantine because someone may have COVID. I don’t want to have to quarantine myself because I screwed up and comforted an overwhelmed child. I don’t want to lose friends to aftereffects of COVID. I don’t want anyone to resign, quit, or say we didn’t do the proverbial “enough” to keep people safe or make their work simpler. I cried because I sat through an hour long meeting about procedures and policies about safety and felt horrible for the host having to answer questions that there is no definitive answer for. I cried because kids are struggling and teachers are frustrated and both sides are shutting down. And I cried because the list of all the things I love to do in my work, I can’t do…either because I can’t afford to pay for the damn conference to speak at it even virtually or because I can’t be with kids to notice what cool things they’re doing and see if my gut instinct is right or because there’s already too much on the plate of teachers for anything else resembling professional development. I cried because I’m tired…and I know everyone else is too…and we’re all worried that we aren’t cut out for any of this.
And that is why Anna Wintour wears sunglasses. She wears them to hide the tears, the runny mascara (waterproof mascara is a myth, for the record…), and bloodshot eyes caused by carrying all the things in her heart. Keeping it all from the prying public, press, and young boys in green shirts at the park asking if there is anything he can do to help as tears fall behind the dark lenses.