I can’t help but get weepy when I think about the Class of 2020. Just typing those words brings tears down my cheeks… AGAIN. “Our” school year ended just like THAT on March 11th. No good byes. No “last” time I’m going to…No fun celebratory snapshots with friends outside the school. It’s like a bad dream, but unfortunately, it’s not a dream.
Now…my daughter sits in our home office, day after day, staring at a computer screen finishing her senior year online. Everything has been stripped from these kids. I cannot pass by our office without looking at her and feeling grief. She, like most of her classmates, has worked so hard. The pay off was all the FUN senior year stuff and recognition that lay ahead.
As her mom, I couldn’t wait for that moment to say “You did it!!! And what a job you’ve done!” I wanted a family graduation picture with her to celebrate the chapter in our family’s life that is closing and the new one that will soon begin. I can’t help but think that maybe that picture was more for me, her proud mother.
And with that thought…I had an epiphany today. I think it’s way harder on us parents than it is on our kids. I think kids are just getting through each day focusing on what they need to get done. They are more resilient, adaptable and accepting of their situations. They look forward to future goals and dreams. Maybe it’s God’s way of protecting them.
My teenage self also went through a life changing event. When I was heading into my junior year in high school, my dad suddenly passed away, leaving my brothers and I without parents as my mom had passed five years earlier. At the time, we mourned the heartbreaking loss of our dad, but we never mourned the loss of our own lives. We still had our entire lives to live AND look forward to; although it would look different than any of us ever expected or planned.
When I reflect back on my younger self I never remembered thinking ANY of these thoughts…”My parents won’t see me graduate high school. My parents won’t move me into college or see me graduate college. My parents won’t be able to celebrate with me on getting my very first job. My parents won’t walk me down the aisle when I get married. My parents will never hold any of their grandchildren.” And this awful list could go on and on IF I cared to dwell on those moments BUT I never did. It wasn’t even intentional. I think I was wired to survive and look for ALL the beauty and joy in my life that STILL existed. I think we parents focus more on ALL the moments that our Seniors won’t get to enjoy. I think, no I know, in the end they will all be OK. They will be more than OK.
The Class of 2020 will go down in history. Maybe this global crisis will have inspired many of them to help in a way they never would have dreamed of before. They will do great things. They will be survivors. Their resiliency and strength will enable them to soar in the days, weeks, years ahead. That is not something that a textbook or ceremony could have instilled in them.
The Class of 2020 will forever be in our hearts. They may not get the opportunity to be officially or publicly celebrated but they WILL be the class that will NEVER be forgotten.