An Open Letter to the Parents of the Class of 2020
Today I cried. I sat and just wept.
I have an immense amount of strength having experienced so much heartache, trauma, and devastation in my life but this pandemic is something that has caused a new set of emotions.
We are experiencing in real-time how fast our lives are being changed forever. We are adjusting to how our children’s lives are being affected. We are living in a time of fear, panic, worry, and uncertainty. If you had asked me in September what I thought my daughter’s senior year of high school would look like, I promise you I could have never imagined anything like this.
As parents of this graduating class, we are all in this together.
Our hearts ache for what our high school seniors are missing out on. We can recall our own last year of school. We revel in the memories of yearbooks getting signed, senior honors night, lock-ins, bonfires, and parties we had and playing in our last game of the season. We recollect our prom night and the dances where it seemed like time stood still and laugh looking back at our styles.
We reminisce about the moment we finally got to put our cap and gown on and imagine how we will witness our kids doing the same. I’ve envisioned seeing my sweet middle daughter walking across the stage to get that little piece of paper (as the proof of countless years filled with hard work, wins, and losses, late nights studying, last-minute projects, laughs, and tears).
Today, I wonder if she will get to have that experience.
In this time, we as parents we are faced with the challenge of being brave, now more than ever. Some of us are scared, tired healthcare workers. Some of us are worried about an ill family member. Some of us are now unemployed and have no idea where our next meal will come from. Some of us worry about the mental health of a loved one. Some of us have run out of positive things to say.
We are trying our best to uplift this generation of youth that has endured so much at their young ages. Sometimes it’s not easy. We are seeing some elders comparing the class of 2020 to a group of cry-babies that should feel lucky they weren’t drafted like the soldiers of Vietnam were.
There is no contest. There is no comparison.
Our children are experiencing a different war that they couldn’t fight even if they tried, other than staying home and practicing social distancing.
This virus is invisible. Don’t get me wrong, we are grateful for the generations before us who fought for our freedom- my uncle included as he is one of my heroes for fighting in Vietnam. But we can’t compare our high school seniors to them.
It’s not fair.
Many of them already feel hopeless and lost. We should be encouraging this class and realize these students are the next adults being released into our society. Have a little compassion. Show them some love. Encourage them and let them know you are here for them, they are not alone, and somehow, someway, we will all get through this together. And when we can, we will celebrate all of the milestones achievements and successes- even if it’s not in the traditional and customary way.
To the fellow parents of the class of 2020, I see you.
No one else can explain what we are experiencing as moms and dads of high school seniors. We don’t have all the answers in this time of uncertainty but we certainly can stand together and lift up the class of 2020. They are a resilient class.
The adversity they have overcome in their life is immeasurable. This class was born into an era of 9/11, they survived the economic crash of 2008, instead of lock-in’s they’ve lived through lock-downs and have grown up in a time where social media may not have always been kind.
We need to let our class of 2020 know they are a unique set of individuals that in spite of their circumstances, they will rise above. Covid-19 has taken so much away from everyone in such a short time but I refuse to let it take away our joy.
We can’t compare our kid’s experience to anyone else’s because it’s their journey. This will be their story to tell.
To the class of 2020, you are world changers.
Stay strong and please know that we are all rallied around you and we want you to know we are proud of you! We love you! We celebrate you! And we most definitely can’t wait to see all of the things you will contribute to the future.
As always, thanks for reading and cheers to a healthy mind and body living!