Dear Moms of Seniors,
I’m writing you this letter in the middle of the night because my heart is breaking for you. I don’t have a child graduating high school this year, but I see your pain and I have been here too. I promise you, some day you will see the beauty in this moment.
In March our Governor made a very tough decision to close schools abruptly to slow the spread of COVID19, thus ending this school year as you and our kids know it. Yes, there was a lengthy explanation. No, we didn’t like it, but we had to accept it because we really had no choice. And yes, there are still a lot of unknowns. But I recognize the disbelief, the devastation, the heartbreak and then the rage that sometimes follows something that has been taken from us–or our children. But I know for certain and I promise you, there is beauty here.
Who am I to dare tell you this in what we are calling “unprecedented times”? Well, I’m a mom too, and I’ve been here before—not exactly in your shoes, but close enough. You see, 20 years ago, my world abruptly came to a stop when our daughter was born. She suffered a birth injury and was diagnosed with severe cerebral palsy the next day. I mourned the loss of the “normal” and all of life’s experiences my daughter would never get. She would never walk, talk, make friends on her own, argue with me, experience a high school crush, homecoming, prom, graduation, wedding. As mothers, we take these kinds of things for granted for our kids so when it is taken away, we take it personally, like it is something that someone “did” to us—or worse, they did it to our child, but yet we are left helpless to fix it. No one can fix this. And I have to warn you, this moment can be hard to get out of, especially when your child’s health is at risk. You will rationalize because you have to, but there is beauty in the mourning too. When I thought our world was ending, the reality was, it was just beginning.
I’m not trying to over simplify or get into a drama contest comparing our grief, I am simply trying to point you toward the direction of hope as humbly as possible. Mourning is beautiful, but only if you don’t stay there for too long.
The beauty in the situation comes when you discover that YOU are the only one with the power to take back what was taken! When I quit looking at our daughter’s disability as an inability, and instead looked at is as a gift, my entire world came into focus.
So take back your child’s senior year! This time with your student before they go out into the world is a gift. Consider the beauty of what this moment could look like since YOU get to write the new beginning–technically your senior will want to write their own beginning–but everyone needs a proofreader! Take a moment to mourn this loss, it is extremely sad, but don’t take so long that you forget to see the beauty of the new beginning. I promise you, there is beauty here.
The most grateful mom of a beautiful young girl who taught me the most beautiful things in life are certainly not planned!