Partial eclipse of the sun, but not of the heart

At noon on August 21st, the solar eclipse glasses remained in my Amazon shopping cart, and three empty boxes of Cookie Crisp lay on the kitchen counter, unaltered, while my children bounced off the walls from sugar overload.

So, we headed to the local library for a “solar eclipse event,” in hopes that they were giving out glasses, or at least snacks. Dozens of people filled the field behind the library. Luckily, the librarians were better prepared than me. They had stacks of solar glasses, not enough for the huge crowd, but enough for everyone to share. It was amazing to watch a large community come together for a celestial event — sharing glasses, communicating with each other, and watching their children play gaga ball and climb trees.

As the eclipse viewing was coming to an end, a young woman approached me. My first thought was that my kids did something bad. I was getting ready to apologize, but to my surprise, she said, “I hope you don’t mind me asking, but where did you get your shirt?” I suddenly remembered the shirt I intentionally put on that morning. A shirt I chose because of its message. So, even if something non-PC accidentally comes out of my mouth, you can read my shirt and know that I accept and respect you, no matter your race, gender, sexual identity, citizenship status, etc. You matter to me.

The shirt-curious woman and I talked for a bit, and I asked about the four beautiful children she was trying to round up, all of which were probably under 5. She explained to me that the older three were siblings and that she was their foster mom, and the youngest was a foster child who she was in the process of adopting. She also had an older biological child. I watched this woman chase the children around with such joy on her face, knowing and accepting the fact that she could only hold them for a short time before she had to let them go.

As I gathered up my own rowdy children and headed home, I wished I had a chance to talk to this kind woman longer, to learn more about her, about other foster moms, those who give their love unconditionally knowing that the ultimate goal is for the children to be reunified with the families they were taken away from. This is love. And, although I came to see the moon partially cover the sun, the world has never looked brighter to me.

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