A recipe for return

Restoring school delivers hint of normalcy


On Friday, March 13, we left school. On Wednesday, August 12, we returned. 

Walking through Door 13 for the first time in five months was weird–and I do believe that adjective to be the only accurate, most eloquent way to put it. But what’s even weirder is starting the school year, counting not down from 180 days but up to “X” amount of cases until it all falls apart once more. 

It’s like a bittersweet recipe, the “new normal.” 

  • 1 teaspoon–masks that force eyes to smile instead of mouths
  • 1 tablespoon–how people have changed in the past five months
  • 1/4 cup–lessons taught outside
  • 1/2 cup–block schedules that lighten the homework load but make hours feel like days
  • 1/2 cup–“cleans hands in and clean hands out”
  • 1 cup–more lunches with less people
  • 2 cups–friends pulled out of class to quarantine
  • 3 cups–the looming threat of a school shutdown
  • To the taste–fear (optional)

The end-result is a fruitcake of emotions and opinions, with reviews ranging from “At least we’re at school!” to “I hate this, I don’t care about COVID!” and “They think this is worth the risk?” 

After a bite of “the new normal,” I suppose I fall into the “At least we’re at school!” group of reviewers. It isn’t the tastiest recipe. It isn’t your grandma’s homemade ooey, gooey chocolate chip cookies.. 

But it’s something.

Lately, I’ve been fearing the day that March 13 is repeated–that is a particular recipe that should be burned, never again allowed to be concocted. But fear is an optional ingredient. 

Today, I choose not to fear getting the virus. I choose not to fear the day that Dr. Himsel has to make another impossibly difficult decision. I choose not to fear a national shutdown once more.

Instead, I will savor every day at school like it’s my last. I will savor that AP Stats quiz in a classroom that bores me. I will savor waking up at 6 a.m. to look presentable. I will savor seeing people that aren’t always my cup of tea. 

We will savor every day like it’s out last.

Because as March 13 painfully taught us: it very well could be.