My kids have been so great through this difficult time. Both are home from college taking online classes, making the best of the situation. No complaining. Zero arguing. Very little whining. It’s like they know when we, the parents, are right on the edge and they rise to the occasion.
I feel particularly sad for my daughter, finishing her senior year. She’s not spending her last semester with her best friends. And she won’t be walking to accept her well-earned diploma at graduation. And she has no idea what the job market will look like after May. But she’s been upbeat and positive since this all went down… until the other night.
We were having a Zoom Happy Hour with friends, all commenting about how much it sucks that she’s not able to experience her last semester and walk for graduation. She escaped into her room and started to cry. It was the first time. It hit her. I knew it would.
But for the first time in her life I really didn’t have a good “answer”. There was no making this better. I didn’t have any words of wisdom. No lesson to learn.
All I could muster was “This just sucks. And I’m so, so sorry.” I couldn’t say things like “Well, we’re all healthy.” or “We’ll have a big celebration.” or “You’ll learn from this experience.” All true but not at all helpful in the moment. She needed to grieve and I needed to just listen.
Of course there are much worse things people are enduring now, I know. But when you work hard for four years and there’s no commemoration of this monumental moment it feels unfinished. It hurts. There’s a real loss. She’s not going to get this major life moment back. No graduation. It’s sad. It sucks.
Graduation is a joyful time, a time to celebrate. And we will. But this milestone will just look and feel a little different.
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