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.

Awkward freshman first day photo with mom

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!

First high school yearbook photo

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.

So…

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.

Amy

24 thoughts on “Thursday Thoughts – We are all grieving…

  1. Oh Amy, this is so well written and so true on so many fronts. No matter what it is we are missing out on, we have a right to our feelings. You are missing out on those special moments with your seniors and I am so sorry for that. I am thinking of you and still keeping a shred of hope that maybe you all will get back to school!
    xo,
    Kellyann

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you – I felt a little weird writing it since we don’t know if we will go back yet. It was therapeutic to write and I do think I am optimistic about 75% of the time. I think my moods are better when I turn off the news and social media but I don’t want to bury my head in the sand, either. I think when we accept our feelings it is easier to move on to a place of acceptance. This work from home stuff is hard! I got a message from a student at 10:30 – nope – boundaries!

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  2. I’ve never *really* written about it but the feelings of grief you’re describing are the same feelings I had when we left Colorado and moved to the east coast. The transition to new state, no support system, no friends, new baby, no job, etc, etc, was too much. My counselor told me I was definitely grieving all that I lost, even if I did gain Wells in the mean time.
    All that to say, I think a lot of people feel this exact way right now. I feel terrible for this year’s seniors BUT what a memorable year it will have been? Everyone will always remember what the class of 2020 had to deal with.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. There are so many forms of grief – you grieved the loss of your Colorado life and your identity really. I think it’s important to name your feelings so you can get to the next place in life. I know we are all learning now and I don’t think my students will complain about real school after this!

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  3. Thank you for writing this! I could say “ditto” to the every word. I don’t ever want to be one who complains, but this situation is sad not only for my daughter’s senior year, but also for me. It seems like her senior year is fizzling out instead of being celebrated. I was encouraged though that the district sent out tentative dates during the summer for a prom and graduation. Maybe they will still happen? Hang in there, friend.

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    1. I know! It is also a loss for the parents; it may sound selfish but we think about these events for 18 years and it is a parenting milestone as well. If we do go back it will be hard to get seniors back on track I think. That is great that your school is looking at summer dates and I hope we do the same. Thinking of you, too, Tanya! So exciting about Emory!

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  4. Well, you got me 😭I love that your boys go to your school and you’ve had the blessing of being their teacher. I’ve always felt the same way that I’m blessed to have my two but I only get one chance at first day of kindergarten, etc. …which is why I think I make a big deal about first day of school, birthday, etc. I love this post. Beautifully written

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m sorry! I know you can relate! My sister has twins but she had two more after her twins.
      I need to think about all that I have experienced because I’m so blessed. I’m having all the feels now that we put deposit down and have a date that they will be moving out. This parenting thing is not for the weak! Have a good day!

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  5. Lovely words, Amy! I know that this must be so hard for you and so many other families. Grief is definitely the feeling that I have, especially this week. At first, the days were like snow days – a relief to retreat from the hectic schedules of normal life. This week, I have been sad and depressed as I think about all the people that are struggling right now. My heart hurts for everyone that has been affected by the pandemic. That is a lot of weight to carry around in one’s heart and mind. So, I try not to stay down for too long. There is always something to do occupy myself. We must all have hope for brighter days in the future. Thinking about you all.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! I am fine most of the time but like you I am overcome with emotion at least once a day. I’m sad for families and sad for our country. I think it causes an emotional exhaustion. There is always a good spot in each day and I am mostly optimistic and positive. Thinking about you, too! It is some loss for all of us! Hope to talk to you soon!

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  6. This was such a good post. Recognizing the grieving for things we’ve lost is something I haven’t let myself sit in very long. I’m afraid it will consume me. But this is real life right now. Thank you so much for sharing. I pray God will bless the heck out your boys and your family.

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    1. Thank you Paige! You will be in my thoughts as well. I understand; if you think too much it may be hard to get out of bed. My sister said she had a good day yesterday considering and I told her to remember what she did to have a good day and keep doing those things. Take it one day at a time. Thank you for the blessings and I wish the same for you! Paige is one of my favorite names, by the way!

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  7. This brought tears to my eyes. I haven’t lived with my mother since I was six years old, so fifty years. She’s lived in another state for the last 20 years and we don’t see each other but maybe twice a year. We had planned a mother/daughter/sister trip to Savannah this month. A first. My mom and sister aren’t in the best of health and I really wanted to do this and had been planning it for months. So I’m really grieving this event. With everyone’s schedules I don’t know if we will be able to do it this year when things do get back to normal. It’s breaking my heart.
    So sorry for your boys. Senior year is such a big deal.
    I guess this whole event will teach us to slow down and appreciate things a little more and change the way we live hereafter.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m so sorry! I hope it can be rescheduled.
      Thank you. They are more ok than I am I think.
      I definitely think we are getting a cleanse of sorts.
      I’m taking it one day at a time as much as I can. I just can’t think about 2 more months if that is what it is.
      Do something today that makes you happy! Take care, Theresa!

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  8. Thank you for sharing. I’m sorry your boys are missing out on some of the senior activities. I hope maybe some of it can be salvaged. Take care.

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  9. You did a great job of describing everyone’s feelings. We each have a different circumstance, but the same feeling. I’m glad J and M have each other so they don’t have to do this alone. You should be really, really proud of them!

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  10. Amy, this brought tears to my eyes. I teach at my boys’ school too. My oldest is in 5th grade and like you, I probably won’t get to teach him anymore. I am the media specialist so I’ve had him in my class once a week since he was in first grade. I’m sad for all the fun 5th grade things he’s going to miss and for the things we’re going to miss together. Thank you for putting into words exactly what I am feeling. Xoco

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m so sorry! 5th grade is a big year and I remember all the special things we got to do. So your state hasn’t cancelled yet either? Right now we are set to go back May 4 so I am
      holding out hope. I hope you will get to go back, too.
      Thinking of you!

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  11. My Twin Momma heart is reaching out and virtually hugging you right now. You definitely put a lot in prospective that hasn’t even crossed my mind yet. My twins are just in Kindergarten, but like you say, we only get to experience it once. My heart breaks for you and your boy’s senior year. These are mile stones that cannot be redone. We’ve been grieving the Kindergarten graduation, but you all are grieving an actual graduation and senior year together. This is truly not what we expected 2020 to be.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Awww thanks but now I’m so sad for you because K is a big year! Maybe something can be salvaged for both of us? 2020 needs to get its act together, right? Hope you have a good day despite everything!

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