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Matt Allio

When Sheltering Apart Brings Us Together

Dear Trinity Families,
My first child had her first child last week, and I couldn’t go to the hospital to hold my grandchild, Isabella. I drove to Sacramento to be there as soon as they got home from the hospital, with my mask on, but COVID won another point this week. I felt robbed of the hospital visit: COVID 1, me, 0.  Perhaps we each, in our own way, imagine this kind of “tally” — all of the things that we can’t do because of the virus. The graduation exercises altered, the end of year celebrations done virtually, the goodbyes said via Zoom.
Two weeks ago, however, when we celebrated Grandparents’ and Special Friends’ Day, I was so moved by what we could do together. We could have Eva Ganley’s grandmother with us all the way from the UK to tell her family’s story during Eva’s Fifth Grade year at Trinity. We could have preschooler Lily Har’s grandparents with us from locations across the US to talk about baking as a family. After that very moving Chapel, Colette and I remarked that perhaps we should always have a Chapel that is done via Zoom so that grandparents and special friends who can’t travel can be with us to share in the festivities.
Tally: perspective I’ve gained from the virus, +1.
Every Friday, when we have our short family chapels, I see new adult faces pop up on the Zoom to take part in these weekly moments of togetherness. Some parents are able to be with their children at family chapel because there is no commute involved, so it’s easier to attend now than it was when they were held in person.
Tally: ways the virus has made coming together easier, +1.
And, a week ago, one of our families embarked on a move from the Bay Area to Portland, Oregon. A caravan “farewell” was organized by their class, and almost every family in their children’s grades showed up in their car, windows open, masks on, to say goodbye to the children. This was done not at school, but on the kids’ front lawn — connecting their school life to their home life and providing a kind of closure that would otherwise be impossible.
Tally: ways the virus has allowed children to say a more complete goodbye, +1.
Of course, it’s impossible to overlook the extremely trying times in which we live. Each day brings a news cycle that is heartbreaking for different reasons. Last Friday’s chapel, when we paused in silence to think of others, felt appropriately timed. Whether to remember the 100,000 American lives alone that have been lost to COVID or the senseless brutality against Black citizens of the U.S. and the systemic racism that has plagued our country for centuries, we must continue to concentrate on tangible action that improves the lives of others. It’s who we are as a school in the Episcopal tradition, and it’s who we encourage our students to become.
I focus on moments when the virus teaches me something new. Let’s not lose sight of these simple moments when our community contracts, and we are pulled inexorably closer together. The closeness of our communities and of our families – even the tiniest, newest members – will carry us through these times, together.
See Yourself at Trinity
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