Thousands of schools are closed nationwide due to the Coronavirus, which also means that the class of 2020 is experiencing the devastating loss of their senior year being cut short. I imagine many students are celebrating the fact that they get to sleep in late and escape the obstacles that come with being a high school student. However, for hundreds of thousands of students, these cancellations represent a substantial loss.
Now, of course, these closures directly affect students. Still, I wanted to take a moment to acknowledge how the loss of senior year may be impacting some of the parents out there. When I look back on my senior year (of high school and college), one of the things I remember is all of the talks about everything being the “last time.”
My parents have always been huge supporters of my activities and rarely missed a game or an important event. My mom was ALWAYS in the crowd, cheering me on as I danced on my poms team in high school, and then as I danced in college. Rarely was she interested in how we did in a competition, but she was passionate about supporting our team no matter what. During my senior year, there was no way my mom was going to miss the last time I danced or the last hockey game my brother played. Knowing us, we probably went out to lunch to celebrate the last microbiology lab report I turned in.
I say all of this to recognize that as a parent, your student’s time in high school or college can be something that you genuinely care about, and it is okay to admit that. When all of these school cancellations happened, I bet many parents felt the loss of not getting to see their kid play in that “last game” or watch their student take the stage for “one last time.”
For many parents, there might not even be the opportunity to see your senior graduate, which let’s be honest, is really sad. After the years you spent navigating adolescence, enduring eye-rolls, implementing creative discipline strategies, and watching your kid grow, it came to an abrupt end. There was no time to soak in the “lasts” and no time to emotionally prepare for the fact that it is all over.
The class of 2020 is grieving not getting to say a proper goodbye to their friends and teachers, or finish their athletic season, or participate in the school play. But behind every grieving student is a supportive, sad parent mourning the loss of everything that comes with being the parent of a senior.
Hopefully, you will still get to celebrate in some meaningful yet different ways this year. However, I want you to know that it is okay if you are experiencing feelings of loss during this time. That doesn’t make you a helicopter parent or an overinvolved parent or a parent that “cares too much.” You’re just the parent of a senior, and that is a really big deal.
If you know the parent of a senior, share this post with them!
Written by: Krista DeYoung