By Andrew Nelson | Published October 16, 2020
It was the first day of school again.
Set alarms. Curse the dark morning. Gently nudge a third-grader up and then a few minutes later flip on the light switch mercilessly.
My daughter rolled her chair to the desk to start school in the living room eight weeks ago. Tuesday, she returned to the classroom.
There were days of frustration with in-home learning. The Chromebook without warning shut off its wifi. A youngster doesn’t always keep tabs on homework. Who knew!? But after trial and error, we developed a reasonably good flow as I acted as a sweeper checking no tasks got left behind. I saw how teachers have done yeoman’s work, juggling learners in front of them and those appearing as squares on their computer screens.
From spring flowers to changing leaves
What I will miss the most is our lunch custom. I was privileged during this time to use her lunch to stroll the neighborhood. With our dog in tow, we’d pass the maple tree, turn toward the Fulton County high school – now quiet without students – then make our way past a wall painted with a Black Lives Matter sign before on our return walk down a street dotted with dogwood trees.
The conversations touched on the hugely popular Roblox game, where she uses fashion accessories like hats and sleeves as fun conversation pieces and meets friends unless I threw her a curveball and set up a series of “Would You Rather?” questions. The chats would not be impressive – or of any interest – to anyone else, but I note their absence.
When my history of 2020 is written, I want to hold on to those 25 minutes of getting fresh air. Those walks marked our time together, from admiring spring flowers and bemoaning the heat and humidity to the first change of leaves to red and golden.