All of the build up to Monday finally came and went. Your $6 eclipse glasses will now sit to collect dust until 2024. A nation that was once obsessed with the moon in the 60s was once again looking at it through filters in wonder.
Yet despite this build up and my wife’s constant asking if I wanted to get eclipse glasses for a month, I spent the better part of a day last week in search of the eclipse glasses. I wasn’t stressed too much about it because part of me figured it would be cloudy or raining and we wouldn’t be able to see a thing. But never-the-less, I called around getting answers like, “Thank you for calling Lowe’s, we are sold out of eclipse glasses. How can I help you?”
And even though I didn’t want to DIY this event, because again, I figured that weather would play a factor in it, my wife walked into Hobby Lobby doing whatever she could to save my eyes in the off-chance that it would clear up. But she came out letting me know that a grocery store down the street had them.
Walking in, still feeling skeptical of buying these glasses, I stood in line for them. At the time, I didn’t know where I would even be viewing the eclipse if the weather held. Living on the tree-lined street that we live on, I wasn’t even sure if I was going to have a clear shot to view it. But there I was in line because part of me still held out hope that I would be able to see it and thought that if I can’t view it, these glasses will serve as a reminder to listen to my wife rather than procrastinating.
As totality started to inch closer on August 21st, I decided to drive around. You could see the excitement. The clouds were breaking up after an early morning thunderstorm. Parents had their kids in the park, on a school day. Cars were pulling into random parking spots with drivers stepping out to look up. People were walking out of the grocery store and looking up with their bags in hand.
There was excitement about the eclipse!
As I pulled into the parking lot of my oldest’s school, who invited us to view it with our children, I get one last look at the eclipse. I smile because I was going to be able to share this once-in-a-lifetime moment with my son. Sure, there will be another one in 2024 but not like the one we were about to see in our hometown of Kansas City.
Parents lined the hall waiting to walk down to their child’s classroom. T-Shirts printed with 2017 Solar Eclipse or This is Totality Cool. Even the parents were excited about what was to come. Walking into my son’s room, he was excited to have me there with him. The teacher was going through the instructions for making sure that all their glasses were down as they walked out the door.
Holding hands as we walked outside, it was getting darker. It was happening. The kids looked up in wonder.
It was all you heard from both parents and kids as they looked up. The clouds started rolling in. But every break in the clouds we told the kids to look up which was followed by, “I SEE IT!!!”
And right before totality, the clouds took over. But it was still a teaching moment, the kids lifted their glasses to see street lights turned on, bugs chirping, and the feeling of 8 pm in the middle of the day.
For the kids, it wasn’t so much about seeing it, but being there experiencing it. They were only able to look up for so long before getting bored. To them, the sun just seemed like a Pacman in the sky. And even though the clouds might have eclipsed the eclipse the excitement, the street lights, the buzz of the bugs, will be memories that they will always be able to remember from August 21st, 2017.