Thursday, April 9, 2020
I have kept it pretty positive on the old blog since this pandemic reached our shores, but I want you to know that I have been on an emtional roller coaster as I am sure you have, also.
Right after my Dad passed away in 2018, I told my son Mason that I felt guilty for my intense grief. I knew that I was so lucky to have gotten to have 47 years of a close relationship with my Dad. Heck, one of my best friends only got to have twenty years with her Dad. My wise son told me that my feelings were still valid and that I needed to let myself grieve without feelings of guilt. I keep coming back to that quote. So, friends, it is o.k. to grieve for your losses during this Pandemic, too.
Staying at home, clearing the calendar, homeschooling our kids, limiting our shopping trips and making do with what is in our pantry – all of these are minor first world problems. I think we can all agree that we are being taught a big lesson that was maybe much needed in modern 2020 life. I keep thinking about people in hospitals fighting for their lives without family by their side, health care workers making the ultimate sacrifice, grocery store, liquor store, gas station, food service workers who don’t earn nearly enough right now for the services they are providing – and the list goes on.
Even though we realize this, we are only human and it’s o.k. for us to feel our feelings of loss. Those seemingly little things on our calendar are what makes life worth living. The little things are the big things. I don’t think we will take those for granted after this.
2020 was always going to be a big year. I got married in the year 2000 and that already seemed so futuristic! I remember realizing that in 2020 I would have been married for 20 years! Fast forward to 2002 when I got pregnant with twins. These twins would graduate from high school in 2020! We would celebrate two big, wonderful milestones this year.
So, I have been teaching at my current school since 2000. It was always in the plan that my sons would come to my school. It was a unique gift that my friends were their teachers and that the three of us could do school together. It seems like freshman year was just a minute ago. It is a big enough school that they had different schedules for the most part and they didn’t see much of me, either. I was so proud of how they handled themselves. They didn’t use me as an excuse for being late to class. They didn’t interrupt my classes. They didn’t ask for any special treatment. In fact, I remember once freshman year before they had cell phones, Mason went to the office and asked to call me because he was sick. He simply left a message on my cell phone because he knew I was teaching and didn’t want to bother me!
This year, senior year, we have had the privilege/challenge of me being their AP Spanish teacher. They are in two different sections and not in the same class. This was hard some days but most days I think it was really cool. I took a couple of photos of just ordinary days with them sitting in my room during class and I am glad I did now since they may not get to sit in my classroom again.
We have not had an official cancellation of the school year YET. We are currently planning for 6 weeks of distance learning. But, with Indiana, Michigan, and many other nearby states calling it, I think we could follow suit.
As a twin mom with no other children, I always felt like I only had one shot at each “mom experience”. I know moms of only children must feel the same. I only had one chance to do kindergarten, one chance to do the elementary years and be room mom, one chance to take prom pictures, and the list goes on.
I am grieving for the last two months of getting to be my boys’ teacher.
I am grieving so many things for my boys – they may not get a prom, the senior ride on The Belle of Louisville, a senior walk (the seniors walk the halls one last time to say good-bye to underclassmen and teachers), a full graduation ceremony, senior honors night, senior choir concert, Mason’s last academic competition ever, Jack’s Shakespeare festival, and so much more.
I am also grieving for those of you that have kindergartners, 5th graders, 8th graders, seniors in college – all of these milestones that we look forward to.
And yet, we will sacrifice all of these moments in life if we can keep our loves ones safe and healthy.
I always tell my students that you get to know a person’s true character during the harder moments in life. Everyone can be their best self when the skies are sunny, but it is in those darker moments in life that show you who you are and what you are truly capable of.
I have learned a great deal about my precious sons during this time period. They have not complained a single time. They have done what needed to be done. They have made the best of the situation. They have now both made decisions for their future.
So, while I am grieving for the lost special moments of their senior year, I am seeing the young adults they are becoming despite or maybe in spite of these setbacks.