First day back at school: Smiling faces, hugs, vitality of ideas…and a winter storm warning. The classrooms and hallways were abuzz with anticipation as we awaited the call…that never came. As the afternoon wore on, all eyes were glued to the swirling winter storm outside, mine included. My children ride a shuttle bus for several miles on the interstate to and from their daycare, set on acres of bucolic Midwest farmland. I knew that I wouldn’t feel at peace until I had picked them up from their drop-off point and we were all home safely.
Apparently other parents felt the same. The classroom phone rang again and again. Two dozen heads turned each time. And each time, the call was for another student whose family had arrived to take him or her home early. Noticing my eyes gazing out the window, one of my students said, “wouldn’t it be funny if everyone’s parents came but mine, and I was the only one left?” Something about the look in his eyes told me this wasn’t an over-active imagination talking. And that’s when it hit me. My worries over safety were genuine–Interstates were shut down and dozens of cars were piled up. But my kids were in good hands; they’d left before the worst conditions hit, and soon enough they’d be with me. They had security. And the best thing I could do for the ones who didn’t was put on a poker face and be 100 percent, completely present for them–to be utterly calm, the eye of the storm.