Monday, August 21, 2017

Eclipse 2017

The eclipse didn't really hit my radar until we were planning a spur of the moment trip to Orlando and Francis said he wanted to be back in St Louis for it. Of course, I follow tourism news and knew that the eclipse path was expected to get a huge amount of traffic, and I knew it was a BFD that our house was in the path of totality, but I guess I didn't think about it much specifically because we did not need to leave the house to see it. We both work at home, so Francis simply shifted his lunch hour and we just have to walk outside.


I was a little concerned about managing Lilly, but I figured I could stick her on the front porch. and I would miss it if I had to. The leaves make cool patterns because trees create a pinhole camera effect, so at least I'd have that. As it turned out, I misjudged the position of the sun at that hour, and our giant tree in the front yard completely obscured the sun. After running into the back yard with glasses a few times while she stood at the back door, I knew I would not want to stay on the porch, and frankly, there was no reason to. We set her up in a chair at the back of the house with her "ABD" book while we watched on the south side, and she never tried to get up to see what we were looking at.


I saw so many parents in the weeks leading up to the eclipse saying they were not letting their kids go to school, not letting them go outside, not trusting their teachers to protect them. I even saw someone say the sun puts out negative energy during an eclipse that is magnified by the moon. And then on the other side I saw blogs from astronomers saying that seeing a total eclipse was the most amazing thing of their childhood, that it made them want to be a scientist, that it was the most literal definition of awesome. How could I hide her inside during such a primal connection with the cosmos?


I get that as a parent you want to protect your kids. But you have to let them fly! Risk can be managed. I don't know what Lilly will remember from her 3rd year of life, probably not anything that will determine her future career. Being self employed, I see the effects of taking risks and the results of playing it safe, every day. I hope that even if Lilly doesn't remember this specific day, her cumulative childhood experiences nurture her to find fun in flexibility and rewards in risks (within reason, of course).

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