No First Day of School

Whether we are teenagers or grandparents, teachers or students, at home or in temporary shelter, the first day of school is different for many of us this year. I have participated in this annual event since I was in kindergarten, but for Fall 2020, I have no first day of school. I am no longer working for a nonprofit, and although I will offer one-on-one sessions and lessons online, I miss the rituals I developed over my past several years as a college instructor:

  • enrobing in ethical, sustainable, and/or secondhand attire set aside for the occasion
  • checking and rechecking my bag for my lunch, laptop, and textbook
  • spending my commute reviewing the ways my lecture and activities would highlight aspects of my teaching philosophy
  • stopping by my office to sit my mug on my desk and hang an extra cardigan on my chair
  • knowing I belong as I stride into a room filled with mostly unfamiliar people
  • inhaling deeply before exhaling a greeting, a brief autobiography, and an icebreaker
Krystal stands at her front door wearing a   tonle dress that is black and designed with golden willow leaves

This year, there are few changes between my late summer schedule and my fall one:

  • eating breakfast at the table with my husband and our one-year-old son
  • sitting my toddler in the pack and play while I put on a tonle dress or leggings and a top
  • walking through the neighborhood with my little explorer
  • climbing to the stairs to my second-floor apartment as I reflect on my next steps for growing as a mother and an entrepreneur
Krystal sits at her desk with her laptop and a Japanese teacup with green flowers

I am not in a classroom this year, but I have much to learn and much to give. My previous planning for motherhood did not include staying home full-time, but this option creates the most well-being for my household in this season. I never imagined losing most of my opportunities to teach or accompany in colleges, schools, or community programs, but my work in these spaces has prepared me to serve a wide array of people. I look forward to working alongside underrepresented artists as a tutor, composer, and speaker as we maneuver through the challenges of this and future seasons.

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