Sadness and Schools in This New Era

Today we received the official word that our schools are closed for the rest of the year.  I heard this news and started to cry.  I couldn’t help it.

I am sad for my son and him not being able to see his friends or his teachers any more for the year.  I am sad that lives are not normal and we are unsure when they will be.  I am sad that there is so much unknown and so much that is scary.  I am sad that we cannot hug our friends, have lunch with them, and chat about our day.

I am sad that I won’t get to go to the chorus concert of songs that my son has been working on.  I am sad that some kids are in unhealthy environments and may be struggling with having enough food. I am sad that we won’t get to go to any games or watch his friends play together.  I am sad we cannot have Nerf wars as a group of boys had planned to do.

I am also sad for my nephew and others who are seniors this year.  I cannot imagine what he and they are feeling right now.  I hope they have fond memories of an amazing school experience, although it is truly bizarre here at the end.  I hope and pray that they can be happy for what they do have, instead of only dwelling on the sadness.  I am trying to do that as well. Some days it is easier than others.  Today is a tough one.

We knew that the call to close schools for the rest of the year was coming but it is still so hard.  Three quarters of this school year is all that we had at school, with friends, with teachers, with normal routines, with sports, the arts, and other activities. This last quarter is quite bizarre and different than anything that we or anyone else has ever dealt with.  With that comes stress and sadness.

This afternoon, our school system is supposed to meet and figure out the next steps to finish learning for the rest of the school year.  Not sure how that will look, but I truly admire everyone who is working so hard on it.  This is so beyond what they had planned for when the school year started.  The fact that they are stepping up so well is testament to the talents and gifts that our educators have.  We are blessed to be part of such a district.

Earlier this week, my son’s school sent a video to all families.  It included comments and well wishes from the entire staff.  It looked like so much work but was so appreciated.  We could tell that our teachers, administrators, and everyone else truly miss the students as much as they miss them.  It made us smile.

Each day there seems to be some happiness and some reasons to smile.  But, there is also sadness, and worry, and fear, and many other complex emotions.  We do what we can each day but realize some days, it is okay to pause and just enjoy being together.  It is okay to get a late start, watch a funny show, and talk about happier times.  We also are reaching out to our loved ones and getting exercise.

I am sad for seniors who didn’t have a prom this year, and they don’t get the end of school fun that I remember from my senior year.  They didn’t get a spring break trip with their friends.  Also, who knows when they will be able to walk across the stage at graduation.  For that and for them, I am sad.  I hate this for them.

I also am sad for the 8th grade students at my son’s school who will be transitioning to the high school next year.  They too won’t get the normal end-of-the-year activities, fun, and special party.  They won’t be able to say goodbye to their favorite teachers, at least not in the traditional sense.  So that also is very sad.

I am sad for everyone as they finish out the year not being able to go back to school and give that favorite teacher a hug, or see a friend at lunch, or walk down the hall to their locker and run to class.  I am sad that life is so very different and so much is unknown.

My heart is with everyone as we try to figure out how to move forward.  How can we remotely celebrate these students who cannot be together to celebrate?  What can we do to help them know how very special they are and how much they mean to us?  How can we reassure them that life will be normal again?   I am thinking about that and know many others are as well.

My prayer is that we can continue to support one another, that we can lift one another up, that we can make plans to help our students and our communities, and that we can practice kindness and unity that is distant but together.  And, that we always, always love.

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