I had *really* high hopes for 2020. January did not start out how I had hoped and really planned for February to pick up the slack. Then March happened. Don’t even get me started on April. Finally, the gut-punch came this past week when the governor announced that students would not return to the classroom this year. This meant my oldest, Class of 2020, would not be returning to his high school as a student.
Without even realizing it, my son’s last day of high school was Friday, March 13th. That is the last day he left the halls of his school as a senior and now won’t be returning.
Never, in a million years, did I think this was even a remote possibility in March. I understood what was happening. The “early” spring break release, cancellation of the Spring Band Trip to Washington DC, and distant learning the entire month of April as an important preventative measure to help contain the virus.
I work in healthcare as a Nurse Practitioner. My husband is a Firefighter/Paramedic. We are in the thick of trying to head to work to care for patients during COVID-19 and also keep our family safe. Making homemade cloth masks in our free time for ourselves, family, and friends. Decontamination routine once home from work, shopping, or running errands. Somewhat of a routine for distant learning. All of us trying to make the best out of this situation.
The focus has been on getting through each shift and each week of school, hopeful May would bring a change of routine.
I had hope that May would be spared. That my senior would enjoy the last few weeks of friends, celebrations, and activities in the halls of his school.
Then that last glimmer of hope was crushed.
Normally, I would try to find the positive, stay upbeat.
Instead, I have taken the weekend to try to ignore it all. Total denial, topped with a homemade stormy night martini and a zoom evening with friends.
Thankfully today started with lots of sunshine – and no headache. A good morning run also helped clear the mind.
Tomorrow marks the one month date until my senior graduates.
Fortunately, our district has expressed the same sadness and frustration we feel. Today, I finally had the energy to read all the emails sent on Friday.
Since I wallowed in my disappointment Saturday night; today I try to look forward to the new future:
- Continued classroom instruction over the next month to finish up his last semester, earning credit for two college courses while interacting with teachers and classmates
- Online Virtual Graduation. Not what any of us wanted, but this will allow all parents, grandparents, and students to be safe. I loved the graduation date of 5-20-2020 and now will still celebrate on this date.
- Social Media Celebrations. Both email videos for weekly school announcements along with YouTube highlights every Friday Night.
- District highlighting each graduate home with personalized yard signs that will complement the signs the Music Boosters created.
- Planned summer/fall celebration for the senior class
Still hurts writing all this down, because it isn’t what it should be. There should be senior award celebrations. Prom. Hanging out with friends. Trip down to Illinois State University to show off to his brothers where he will be attending college in the fall. Graduation ceremony. Pictures with aunts, uncles, cousins, brothers, and grandparents outside of the high school. Graduation dinner. Graduation parties.
Because of all we have been through these last few weeks, I am thankful for the chance to learn to appreciate the moments we did have. The last marching season, last band concert, last stage performance.
Knowing what he is missing out these next few weeks has made me appreciate a bit more everything we do going forward.
While we can’t be with family and friends in person right now, we can call them. Drive by the houses and wave from the driveway. FaceTime phone calls and Zoom meetings. Making actual phone calls instead of texting.
I have always been worried about if I have this “parenting” thing down right. Did I teach him the things he needed to know. Was he helpful? Nice? Respectful? Thoughtful? Hopeful?
Watching him process everything the last few weeks at home, seeing him reach out to his friends virtually, celebrating his birthday via zoom and drive-by parade – I know he is going to be ok.
I always thought being part of the Class of 2020 would be a cool year to graduate. I just didn’t think it would be as unique and memorable as it’s turning out to be.