Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Viewing the eclipse, stressed-out-parent style


Days leading up to the eclipse: Consider buying eclipse viewing sunglasses, but get distracted by work, various back-to-school forms, figuring out how to entertain the kids before school starts, wondering when you'll pick up new clothes and shoes for them and the kajillion other things on your to-do list. Read Facebook posts about people traveling to cool places to view the eclipse and mull over the fact that you did not consider traveling anywhere to view the eclipse. Wonder if that means that parenthood has turned you into a wanderlust-less, boring human being. Stop wondering one minute later when your toddler is about to jump off the side of the couch.

Day before the eclipse: See a flurry of Facebook requests from friends and neighbors looking for eclipse glasses. Briefly consider asking husband to track some down, but get distracted by trying to remove an unknown sticky substance from your kitchen floor.

Day of eclipse: Older children head to day camp. Happily they're visiting an indoor theme park, so video games may rot their brains but the sun will not fry their eyes. Later in the day, attempt to watch live feeds of the eclipse but the screen is completely black. Realize your computer needs some sort of update, decide to look at photos instead. Whoa. 

EFOMO (Eclipse Fear of Missing Out) grips you. Are you and your family really going to skip the first eclipse in 99 years to sweep the entire country? No! First, though, you need to call and make some doctor appointments for the kids. And, wait, where is that school form you asked the pediatrician's office to fill out a few weeks ago? And come to think of it, what school supplies do the kids need, anyway? And WHY does the eclipse have to happen right before school starts?

11:48 a.m.: A friend messages you to say she bets Trump will look at the eclipse.

Husband calls a few minutes later. He has decided he'll pick up the kids from camp then dash over to a local library for a viewing.

2:40 p.m.:

Meanwhile, it's suddenly overcast outside. OMG. Is this it? Is. This. IT?! Check your local Facebook group. A woman says she has an extra pair of glasses. You text her. They're yours, for five bucks. Jump into your car, arrive at the address six minutes later, run up to the woman seated on her porch as if you are greeting a long-lost lover and grab the glasses.

Wow oh wow oh wow. That is actually the moon partially covering the sun. The hype is real.

Take a bunch of pics with your iPhone, who cares if the lens gets ruined. (That hype is not real, your lens is fine). Attempt to take photos through your glasses:

Nobody steal this photo, it's being submitted for a Pulitzer.
Continue to stand in front of the woman's home looking up. Call your husband, who has just picked up the kids, and inform him you have a pair of glasses and to head on home. They arrive at 3:45, just in time to see a small sliver of moon still covering the sun. You have fulfilled your parent eclipse duty. Later on, show them a photographer friend's incredible eclipse photo, to further alleviate your guilt that they almost missed the whole thang.


As night falls, things look a little dimmer than usual in your house. Is it your imagination? Or did the glasses not do their job? Maybe your vision was affected? Will insurance cover it?

Get distracted by the overflowing pile of laundry in the hamper, a sight you can't unsee.


Image of solar eclipse: Chad Hunt Photography

11 comments:

  1. I was literally moving in to college as it was happening. My sister saw it through the pinhole in shoebox technique.

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    Replies
    1. Kathryn, congrats on starting college! Wishing you a wonderful first few weeks there (and stellar year).

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    2. Well starting back! It's my second year.

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    3. Oh, my poor brain. I knew that. I blame the eclipse.

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    4. Happy times as a sophomore, Kathryn.

      And pinholes are probably exactly right. I would use binoculars with the appropriate coverings.

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  2. I kind of feel bad that I didn't give this a second thought yesterday, like completely ignored the entire thing. I'll catch it when it comes back in seven years haha.

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  3. hilarious! Because it is so real!

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  4. I was also too busy to focus on the eclipse until Monday morning. First, I was feeling guilty that we had no way of seeing this once-every-99-years phenomenon. Then, I got panicky about damaging our eyes with or without glasses. So, after making sure that two of my kids in sleepaway camp were safe (the camp decided to keep everyone inside so as to not take any chances), I decided that my middle daughter and I would wait out the eclipse in The Cheesecake Factory. I even made sure we had a table in the back away from any windows. To assuage my guilt about missing the whole thing, I let her order the Oreo cheesecake. Oh well.....

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  5. Don't worry, we've got another one scheduled for 2024 here in NH!

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  6. Everyone puts too much pressure on themselves. The eclipse was important to me -- I am a serious photographer; totality was within a couple of hundred miles; I like science. But there are once in a lifetime events happening all the time, and only some of them are important to each of us.

    For all the reasons that are important to me and my family, it was a fabulous experience. But everyone doesn't need to have the same fabulous experiences.

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Thanks for sharing!



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