We spent our day at the amazing Heritage Museum and Gardens, to partake in the solar eclipse festivities. Museum advertised that they’d have eclipse glasses for everyone buying a ticket. We arrived mid morning to a 30 minute line and no more glasses. They had 200 pairs and 1800 people showed up. People need to commune, share, participate.
Couple of hours prior to the eclipse, my son went around asking, everyone whom he could, whether they were lucky enough to have received eclipse glasses and if so, could they share them with him during the viewing. Courageously, he kept on asking, being turned down by every single adult who was lucky enough to have been given a pair of plastic NASA approved eclipse glasses. At some point, he found a quiet spot away from me and wept. Then he got up, went around asking again. I saw some of the grown faces just saying “No”, maybe a “sorry kiddo”, to the face of a sweet 8 year old. He held his shoulders up high and only released tears of let down when people didn’t look. We sat in the auditorium to see the live footage from the West Coast and then he said he wanted to leave.
On our way out, someone else just entering, asked an employee whether people would share glasses with them. I told her what had happened for us, letting go of what wasn’t meant to be.
We took a break before heading back to the car. He sat at a bench nestled among flowers and lovely bushes, sad and teared up. I was looking for the best words to share my disappointment in this group of people’s missed opportunity for basic kindness. Especially towards a child. We were both surprised
I had the deep nagging sense of this possibly being a matter of “white privilege” and having something to do with people not being familiar with responding to differing skin pigmentations. He was one of maybe six kids with darker complexion, amidst several hundred, in the grounds. I decided to push the pause button on that thought and just stood with him, telling I was so sorry for this, reiterating that we would be obviously sharing and kind.
Just yesterday, he had said that he misses his dad, during vacation when he noticed other families with their dads alive and well, more profoundly. Grief visits young people through many years, through developmental milestones, as they comprehend it in age appropriate ways, Children often keep their grief quietly to themselves, so that they do not disturb adults around them. My heart was opened wide to my son’s deep sorrow. Here he was given a new disappointment. A different kind, seemingly much smaller then the death of a parent. Yet, how does it feel for a young child when so many adults reject and not care? Who knows how let downs may build up, for creating our life stories, when synchronized in time and space? I could continuously offer him my tender love and support and know that his resilience would stand.
Then, two cheerful, bright women, one middle aged, one young, as if their brilliant auras glowing visibly, approached our bench. They were caring, concerned, polite and present. They said that they overheard our story and they wanted to share their one pair of eclipse glasses with us. They were given theirs by another generous family’s child, who had a spare. I knew that we had reentered the circle of loving people and the chain reaction of love had started.
They could not believe that this could have happened in a family oriented event. The amazing mom even spoke few words of French and Spanish, too, reminding me of my husband. She was wise of healing and helping others. The gentle and effervescent daughter was studying science, towards the healing of the earth, learning to teach children.
We shared a human connection during a once in a life time moment of this solar eclipse. The daughter even went around the prairie green, where we viewed the eclipse, looking for people without eclipse glasses, asking if they needed to borrow them for a peak.
That is all it took, peaking for a few seconds, through the special lenses. It was a timeless moment, slowed down while being etched in to memories. One didn’t need to hold on to these paper and plastic glasses for the total duration of the eclipse, let alone keep away from curious little ones.
The mom then said to my son
“It is easier being kind. It takes so much more energy to be unkind.”
Thank you, our dear new friends, for bringing hope of humanity back to this little boy’s day. Stay special.