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This One is for the Kids

To the graduating class of 2020 who got 7 out of 9 months of solid normalcy before your lives were completely turned upside down: you are trailblazers in your own right. As two weeks turned into two months, we gently (and unsuccessfully) tried to assure you using cliches like, “This too, shall pass.” When in actuality, we were struggling to believe the words ourselves, because what in the real world? Nothing could have prepared us for a Global Pandemic.

Certainly, we had hopes for life “returning to normal” for the class of 2021. But alas, we share your grief for so many milestones that in all honesty, were stolen from you: Homecoming, Science Camp, Prom, Graduation. It’s like a red wine stain that just doesn’t quite come clean in the wash…even with pre-spotting. You may still be feeling a bit anxious forging ahead, expecting the other shoe to drop at any time. We don’t blame you for one second. We are here to remind you: your resilience has not gone unnoticed.

To the current class of 2022, we have witnessed your ability to be out of the box thinkers. You have shapeshifted from in-person learning / to solitary confinement at-home learning / back to Covid Guidelines Enforced / really weird - masked - stay 6 feet away from me in-person / learning. And here you are.

In solidarity, we stand beside all of you to recognize the hardships that you have endured but have never earned a diploma for: getting up every day to go to school from your bedroom. Standing by as your family filed for unemployment unsure of where rent or grocery money would come from next. How you have questioned each and every decision since March of 2020, your future hanging by a mere thread of certainty. You have been your own mapmaker…your very own cartographer. No one before you has ever in their entire life, accomplished what you have.

To all the graduates of 2020, 2021, and 2022…and really to all kids everywhere…

Your resilience, flexibility, and endurance astounds us. Whatever the next step is on your path, we have complete faith that you will deliver the goods in your way, in your time. Rest assured, we will be cheering the loudest for you… enough to embarrass you as we scream your name from the bleachers and your face turns 3 shades of scarlet. Because that’s what pride looks like when it hijacks your heart.

No one may have told you this yet, but you have already helped heal the world more than you will ever know. We thank you for teaching us how to do this: your presence has been like soothing balm for our souls. We have seen where you have been, and can’t wait to get the postcard from your next destination.

With all of our Love,

Moms, Dads, Brothers, Sisters, Grandparents, Aunties, Uncles, Cousins, Teachers, Aides, Tutors, Therapists, Youth Pastors, Coaches, Administrators, Ones who loved you like you were their own, and the babysitter who never forgot you

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