Grieving the Warmer Greeting...
This morning I dropped off my 3-year-old at the daycare. I got to meet one of the teachers who was not there before when I used to teach music and movement at the site. She introduced herself with a big smile that was of course implied as beaming through her face mask but felt through her smiling eyes. She reached out her arm to me, and my 32 years of experience shaking hands set in involuntarily. As a mother wanting to show appreciation and to honor her for taking care of my precious cargo during such a difficult time, a nod or dab didn't seem to do it justice but I had to respect her space and make sure she felt comfortable (and not invaded) in that moment. Let's mix into that social stew the difficult balance beam act of professional protocol and sense of humanity for a social butterfly like me. Yikes! Welp…..Due to my fun loving nature, I responded in a light-hearted manner to her fist that was prepared to give me dabs. Let's face it….Awkward moments such as these have become part of our new normal.
Greetings are changing. For many of us adults who have endured through this last year, this has become very strange. Many changes have happened in our lives, but there's something different about this change. There's something heartbreaking about this change. The things we have taken for granted, failed to appreciate, and even complained about are now things our hearts ache for. Seeing a friend almost a year later and not being sure if they will be receptive to loving affection can be disheartening. Having our children question whether or not to kiss their Paw Paws and Gigis can be tear jerking. Reuniting with a close friend who has been part of the select few encounters during this Jumanji chapter of life becomes a space for the variety of contact we long for. Yesterday I may have walked up to you with a pep in my step and a confidence about me. Today I might run and jump into your arms. Tomorrow I might be a puddle of emotional soup on your shoulder. Next week I might hug you and squeeze for the entirety of our interaction. The truth of the matter is that our relationships and inherent need for interconnectivity is something many of us are treasuring more. Somehow it has become a novelty to me yet again like it regularly is to the awesome wonder of my young child at that day care. To him, this change may be just another systematic or cultural assimilation. It's part of the simulation. For me, it's bringing everything I was taught at his age into question to be challenged.
Some may be more wired for routine, completion of tasks, and enforcement of rules and laws as their forte. Some of us, however, are much more extroverted and organically express our social emotional interactions through touch and proximity. My forte is spreading love and sharing joy through my big presence, my affectionate ways, and my inspiring talents. All of these parts of me have had to come from behind a protective shield, through a camera lens, and from behind a face covering.
I understand, appreciate, and honor the need for these changes. These are simply microcosm experiences of the universal and global shifts taking place. I welcome them and smile through tears. Some days the tears are releasing. Some days the tears are healing and cleansing. Some days the tears are speaking when I don't have the words.
My animated eyebrows and loving eyes continue to shine for me. Still…..I am grieving the warmer greeting.
And that's ok.