While I know this is our new norm, honestly, reality hasn’t fully set in. The statewide reports and letters announcing the closures of schools for the remainder of the 2019-2020 year are hard to comprehend. Almost 3 full months of school time missed. All for good reason, don’t get me wrong, but still something I would have never fathomed for my kids. And since our kids’ school district hasn’t officially made the announcement I am still in a bit of denial. In this time of denial though it is important to take a few steps to officially say farewell.
Acknowledge that this is reality. There is simply no getting around it if and when the ultimate decisions are made. It is what it is and living in a closet of avoidance won’t make it go away. We have to acknowledge what is or is to come.
Acceptance is moving beyond a generalized awareness or acknowledgment of taking it in as our own. This news is not just a statewide, distant decree. It is a true reality for you and me and our kids. We don’t have to like it, but we do have to accept it. No amount of pouting nor gnashing of teeth is going to change it.
Identify any and everything that you are losing. This can be a tough process but talk earnestly about everything we are losing – practices, games, competitions, proms, friends, graduations and so much more. It can be an overwhelming task, but together as a family, you can do it!
Mourn the losses of what could or should have been. It is ok, acceptable and even encouraged to be sad, angry, confused, scared, the WHOLE gamut of emotions in response to what has been lost. Do NOT minimize any of your kids’ losses. Even if it’s a field trip to a place you go all the time or an event they’ll get to do again the following school year it is a BIG deal to them and that is OK. Let them stew and brew in the emotional soup surrounding the losses of what should have been.
Pray as a family. There is no amount of “fixing” that is going to make these losses any better in the eyes of your child. So rather than trying to come up with solutions to what is lost, bring them to God. He gets our pain. He understands our sadness. He went through terrible loss and grieves alongside us.
Finally, it is ok to move forward in faith. I do not know what that means exactly for your family. Maybe it is coming up with your own new traditions like the birthday parades that are streaming through neighborhoods in lieu of birthday parties. Put together an epic online graduation ceremony with your child’s best friends. Plan and book a delayed graduation extravaganza for 2021. Whatever it is, slowly but surely move forward in faith as a family.
Say farewell with your kids to what should have been but stand firm in God’s promises along the way. This too shall pass. Greater days are to come.