Yesterday, a gentleman walked into my office I’d never seen before. He was tall, middle aged, with a lovely smile that showed through his full beard. I stuck my hand out, introduced myself, and he responded in kind by laughing and saying, I know who you are. You’re my therapist.” I didn’t recognize him. This was the first time I’ve seen his face since we began working together over a year ago. The masks were gone and we paused a moment to see what we both looked like. It was a very bizarre feeling.
Recently, I hired a new receptionist. Conducting job interviews behind masks has been difficult over the past two years. Now that the mandates for masks have been lifted, it’s like we get to find out who the person “really” is. You don’t realize how important it is to see a person’s face to feel like you can trust them.
Today, I’ll be presenting at a teacher’s In-Service and it will be odd to look out into an audience of 25 teachers and administrators who will be looking back at me mask-less. At least, I hope so. Last I heard, California mandates are still in place for school age children. I know that the masks have done such harm to these young minds and created anxiety and fear where there never should have been. School should be one of the two places where children feel safe, and when they couldn’t leave home and find the sanctuary of their school, it literally drove some kids mad. And that goes for teachers too.
I look forward to seeing the smiling faces and hearing children and adults laugh unrestricted again. I’ll look into their faces and think to myself, “How Lovely.”