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The Senior Moms of the Class of 2020 Speak

COVID-19 has taken a lot of things from a lot of folks – health, economic security, normal routines, and freedoms we normally take for granted. Weddings have been postponed or gone “virtual.” Families are unable to have memorials and funerals for their loved ones. Some are overwhelmed by their “essential” work and others find that their life’s work has been declared “unessential.” This virus is taking a toll on all of us.

There is one group, however, I would like to specifically recognize who are affected at this time because of the need for “social distancing.”

This group is the high school senior class of 2020 and their parents. High school graduation is a milestone and rite of passage. It is a time when children are celebrated for the accomplishment of finishing twelve years of school and look forward with excitement and trepidation toward their futures. The ceremony and accompanying celebrations and activities signify the leap between childhood and adulthood. Life is never exactly the same for a high school graduate. Many leave home and take up residence at a college, often times miles and many states away. Others join the workforce. Some stay home, but their family dynamic is different.

The class of 2020 and their parents,, while acknowledging the tragedy of this time and understanding the need for cancellations, are sad. They are missing out on activities they have looked forward to for many years. The prayer is that many activities will be able to go on later in the summer, but they know even that may not happen. This post is an opportunity for these moms to speak about how they are feeling and how they are handling the disruption and disappointment and even share some unexpected positives.

More graduation posts:

How to Celebrate Your Senior Even Though Everything is Cancelled

Ultimate Graduation Gift Guide

Senior Moms of 2020 Speak about Cancelled Activities

 

Spring Sports are cancelled

My son has played baseball since he was 3. My little family may have missed the opportunity for family vacations to National Parks, cruises and theme parks, but I assure we have memories that are just as cherished.  We spent hours together eating homemade sandwiches out of a cooler, huddled under a shade tree in between games. We were together every weekend. It didn’t take me long to develop an understanding and deep love for baseball. Watching him get the hit or come up with an unbelievable catch at third and launch it to first for the out was exciting and rewarding. To see your child receive the reward of his hard work is better than any trophy I could have ever won. Watching him develop a work ethic that he will carry the rest of his life is winning. Watching him learn the coping skills to face defeat and become a stronger man for it – that is winning.

It’s been hard to watch his Senior year slip away like the water down a drain just watching it circle and then disappear. The games, gone, the banquet, gone, Senior night gone. When you ask him it’s different. He misses the time spent with his friends, his brothers. The pregame rituals, the slow walk to the mound to give a few encouraging words to the pitcher, the chatter in the dugout. He misses the adrenaline of playing, coming at bat, stealing bases. Pepe is quiet In his thoughts and private about his feelings   He is intentional in his words so when he says this hurts I know it is painful. Parents spend a lifetime protecting their children but how do you fix this? You can’t.

My contribution to my son’s life has mostly been providing for the needs that he doesn’t even know he has – making sure he has clean clothes, uniforms for baseball, a cold Gatorade in the cup holder of his car before he leaves for practice, a quick slip of cash for whatever he may need.  I don’t know that all of the contributions that I provide go noticed at this age but one day they will, I believe when he has kid of his own.

The BIGGER thing I have done to honor my Senior is hang his jersey and hat on the front door in homage of his baseball season cut too short.  (See the picture of her door here). He doesn’t follow my social media but there have been numerous posts and I changed my profile picture to him.  I share and post numerous tributes to the impact of this year lost.

It is in the small things that are most meaningful to him and me.  Now that I am working from home we are able to share coffee every morning. We sit at the kitchen table and talk, I listen and hear the thoughts he has on the world we are living in.  I make him breakfast and some mornings he makes breakfast for me while I am sitting at my computer but I always stop and share this special time with him.  He is physically in the house more than he has ever been.  I go to his room and sit on his bed and we talk.  For the first time in I cannot remember we aren’t rushed to get somewhere. We are taking advantage of the slower pace.  Don’t get me wrong we both would give anything to be at the ball field, but we can’t live in that darkness and despair.  He walks past me in the hall and I grab him and hold him and tell him I love him.  He gives me a hug while I sit at my computer and asks me, “Can I get you anything?” I use my words to tell him how proud I am of him and the choices he has made with his life and what the last few weeks and months to come will not erase what he has worked so hard for.

We are a faithful family and we are holding onto that God has some really BIG plans for his life and this is a stepping stone in that journey.  I am sharing space with my son and listening to him, his opinions, thoughts and views. It is priceless time.  We have conversations about what college was like for me and what I experienced, conversations that likely would have never happened.  These sound like simple things but when you have a family with kids that are in highly competitive activities and both parents work and a full-time household to maintain time together is extremely limited.

My sister had scheduled a trip to Italy, his choice for any destination in the world for his Senior Trip, now canceled.  I had a Senior party scheduled, invitations printed, canceled.  My family from across the country planned to be here for his series of graduation celebrations all canceled.  We are hopeful these celebrations are delayed and not truly canceled.  He remains hopeful about all of it. There was an incredible baseball video made by a friend. I watch it every day.  I cry every single time I watch it.  Pepe doesn’t allow his thoughts and feelings to stay in the darkness and regret.  We talk about what lies ahead in his future and we are both looking forward to the full life he has ahead.  We know there are much bigger problems in the world and we are safe in our home and have resources to provide for one another, we are the lucky ones.

Ashlie C., Owasso, Oklahoma

 

 

Virtual is Just Not the Same

Sigh……it stinks. There’s really just no other way to describe it except that the ending to this Senior year stinks.

 
My daughter is so sad. She misses her friends. She is grieving the absence of so many end of the year things (Senior trip to Disney, walking through the elementary and middle school halls in her cap and gown as the students cheer, college signing day, Baccalaureate,  Senior Prom (did I mention the dress is purchased and hanging beside the cap and gown in my Craft Room – temp home office?), last Senior Chapel, Senior and Parent luncheon, etc., etc.). We even received an email yesterday that her freshman registration/campus overnight visit to her university has been cancelled in June.
 
She attends a private Christian school and has waited 13 years for all of these special events only to find out that most likely none of them will happen and graduation will be in June or July (original date was Memorial Day weekend).
 
I’m also a teacher, so I’m home with her and find that she has waves of sadness. One moment she is ok, doing school work, or reading or FaceTiming friends, and the next she is sitting in her bed crying. I can’t lie, I’ve shed many tears myself. She is our only child and this would have been our only experience with Senior year. We even had a special family trip planned for just the three of us to celebrate in June – more than likely…cancelled.
 
Everything is going virtual, but can we just be honest and admit that there is NOTHING special about doing things virtual. Then, can we be even more honest and admit that really that does nothing but “check the box” that the event is complete?
 
What am I planning?
1) to have her party in late summer
2) to send out a message two weeks prior to her original graduation date asking friends, family, and neighbors to FLOOD her with cards.
3) a trip at some point as a family – maybe even bigger than we had originally planned
4) we’ve began shopping for her dorm room – this seems to be something that lifts her spirits and gets her excited.
 
We pray. We pray a lot.
 
Thank you for acknowledging just how big of a deal this is. We’ve told her to allow herself to grieve and that we aren’t going to belittle her for doing so. Yes, we understand there is a HORRIBLE virus out there and we are praying daily that it ends. But, just as this virus is a big deal to her father (he’s a nurse – a whole different stress for us right now), graduation is a big deal to her.
 
Shelley G., Nashville, Tennessee
 
 

Looking Forward

Senior mom here. I just finished a call with 4 other parents discussing how we “might” have our graduation at the local drive in!!!  Surreal!
 
We are fortunate to have a graduating class of only 45 so some smaller options are available to us  … we are struggling to even get the kids to talk about alternate solutions mostly because of their disappointment about not getting the traditional experience.  Its interesting what the kids find important and what the parent do …
 
My son in particular has given up on high school and is looking forward to college in the fall – I REALLY hope we have college in the fall!!  He is planning on an out of state school very far away. We have spoken hypothetically about taking classes locally and going away later. He does not want to think about it but understands the reality.  After us throwing it our in very small bites …
 
The kids are resilient. The moms are sad.  My son is an only child and this is actually making it easier on me to send him off (???) one of the few positives of the pandemic.
 
I hope there are medical advances soon that make this experience a memory.
 
Denise S., Wisconsin
 
 
As the world continues in a bit of chaos, remember these moms and their seniors. Reach out with your encouraging words, cards, and prayers. Feel free to comment below as a senior mom or other supporter of seniors and their parents. Share what you are doing to help your senior through this time and how you are coping.

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