By Eileen Sharbaugh, Nursery School Director
The sky was blue, the morning sun was warm, and an occasional gentle breeze was blowing.Not the typical spring day here in Pittsburgh; at least not this year. I was grateful, as I unloaded my car and recognized that I could not have asked for a more picture-perfect day. I strategically began to tape the paper hearts, scripted with the names of each of the 195 Nursery School students, onto my car.Soon other staff began to arrive at the parking lot. We greeted one another from afar and donned our now too familiar face masks. Everyone began decorating their vehicles with festive ribbons, large hearts, pictures, and a variety of fun and colorful decorations. As a finishing touch, we placed balloons and bubble blowing machines around the parking lot. Carnival music played in the background and bubbles began blowing as we all took our places by our cars and waited for the first family to arrive.
As if on cue, the first car entered the parking lot exactly at 10 a.m. and slowly followed the route outlined by the teachers and their decorated cars.Soon the cheers and waves began, from students and families to the teachers and staff. Smiles from behind face masks were easy to detect as they were accompanied by energetic hellos and goodbyes and often included full of life waves that seemed to send a hug through the air toward the intended recipients. Short, but heartfelt offerings of gratitude were spilling out of car windows as families slowly snaked their way through the parking lot. Teachers expressed wishes for a fun and safe summer countless times, as they waved to the students and families whom they had missed so much during the school’s closure. The carnival music slowly faded and was replaced with the many cheerful exchanges and heartfelt goodbyes between students and teachers; it was a truly joyous event.
This monumental time in history has impacted all of us to some degree or another.Big and small changes, losses, and sacrifices have become a part of each of our stories over the last two months.Yet, what I believed shaped this day, despite its Covid-19 limitations, was the connection we have to one another; our relationships. The brief but joy-filled exchanges between teachers and students, even from a distance, were both uplifting and meaningful.
Human beings were made for each other, it’s in the fiber of our being, we long to connect to one another. The day was a reminder that our relationships are among the things that truly matter and that they continue to exist and even grow despite the physical distance we have recently experienced. The joy and the love that was shared in the parking lot reminds me that relationships have a great capacity to help us to navigate challenging times. We truly are in this together.
“Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.” Romans 12:10