Who knew, on Friday March 13, it would be the last day of school? We weren’t waiting at the bus stops with silly string and water balloons; we didn’t chalk our driveways; we didn’t open the backpacks to year-end folders of artwork and we didn’t send in goodies for the last day party, the teacher appreciation lunch, the bus drivers. We didn’t know.
Harder still: our kids didn’t know. What’s in their lockers, waiting for their attention? What is in their pencil case on their desk? Whose lunchbox got left behind in the classroom - now like Pompeii, frozen in place? Which art projects were almost ready for the kiln?
Which friends and which teachers would they have hugged goodbye?
Some will return to their schools in September (I CAN’T THINK ABOUT THAT RIGHT NOW SO DON’T SAY ANYTHING ABOUT FALL YET) - but not all. Our own daughter is finishing 8th grade, which feels like a minor milestone compared to the losses of so many seniors and college kids who are missing a perhaps something so much more significant. But still, loss is loss - and she is missing out on the rewards of all of her patience and hard work for 9 years in her school - no 8th grade dinner dance, no final field days, no graduation. No closure. It’s worse for the high school seniors, worse for the college kids. And for their parents, who have had their own share of sleepless nights getting to these big moments. These big milestones are the ones by which we measure time - and the Class of 2020 will always be the Class of 2020, even without their white dresses and caps and gowns.
For them, our hearts are breaking. They didn’t even get to say goodbye.