It was spring with a touch of summer. The mornings were cool and the afternoons were hot. The trees were displaying their new bright green leaves and there was a sense of change in the air. Deep down inside I felt the need to let go and hold on all at the same time.
I had a calendar on my wall, marking off each day until the end of school with sadness and joy. I was happy that soon I’d be sleeping in and experiencing all the fun that came with summer break but I was sad to say goodbye. Goodbye to another school year that I would never get to experience again. Goodbye to friends. Goodbye to teachers. To habits. To ballgames, pep rallies and being busy. Goodbye to that innocent yet exciting feeling I felt when I saw the boy I had a crush on walk around the corner of the gym. Goodbye to the normal I had created over the past few months. Those last few weeks of school were sweet. Part of me wanted it to hurry up and part of me wanted it to slow it down.
Looking back, I needed that time of mixed emotion and reflection. Knowing it would all come to an end and that sense of urgency to soak it all up – I needed that. It was my journey to closure. Closure to the life I knew and preparing me for what was ahead.
Thanks to COVID-19 our kids aren’t getting that closure. All the experiences of the end of the school year have been taken from them. When they walked out of school for the last time, they didn’t know it was their last time. They missed out on feeling the lump in their throat and trying not to cry when saying goodbye. The butterflies in their stomach from the excitement of completing another year and dreaming of what’s next. They missed out on yearbook signing and year end gatherings. They missed out on pausing at the classroom door, looking around one last time and knowing they would never pass this way again.
Kids are strong. We are all. Yes they will be ok. Yes they will turn out just fine. But they need us right now. They need us to listen and understand and hold space for them to feel and express their emotions. They need to be heard, seen and allowed to feel the feelings that they are experiencing, even if they can’t articulate those feelings.
My heart goes out to all these kids. This is a hard time and a difficult experience. It serves as a reminder to all of us. Don’t take anything for granted. We truly never know what tomorrow will bring.