A Mother’s Grief on a Lost Senior Year

I hate to use the term “not fair”. Let’s face it, you aren’t owed a “fair” break in life. Things aren’t always balanced, and this world definitely has a way of knocking you off your feet. However, right now I can’t come up with anything else to describe this Senior year for my daughter except “not fair”.

My daughter, Evan, has dedicated her life to her studies. She has never brought home a grade lower than an A. She is a member of multiple honor societies and has received numerous awards throughout her entire school career. Don’t get me wrong, she’s not a “book worm” per se; she is involved in extracurricular activities, has a job, and likes to hang out with friends just like any other teenager.

She has, however, dedicated a lot of her time to her schoolwork. She takes pride in it. I couldn’t be more proud of her. Not only for the things she has accomplished in her short 18 years of life, but I’m more proud of the young woman she is becoming. She is funny, beautiful, loving, adores her Grammy and Paw, can catch a fish or kill a deer, she helps me tremendously around the house and she does it all with grace.

Little Did we Know What was Lying Ahead

It all started about 6 weeks ago. We received a phone call the week before her Senior Prom letting us know it had been cancelled. Punch in the gut. Little did we know what was lying ahead. The next week, we found out Spring Break was going to go on for another week. It’s ok; no big deal, right? Wrong. The hits just kept coming.

One of her favorite things to do is go to Starkville with us and watch the Bulldogs play ball from the Left Field Lounge, courtesy of her Aunt Julie and Uncle Howard. She had bought t-shirts, had her cowbell decorated, she was ready to go. College baseball cancelled. Another hit. What’s that? You’re canceling high school baseball, too? This can’t be. You see she’s also a captain of the Diamond Girls at her high school. Another loss. Not long after, our state was put under a shelter-in-place order. No going to work. No seeing her friends, not even one. Another blow. Ok. It’s not great, in fact it stinks; but we can deal.

Our Biggest Disappointment of All

Then there’s today. It may have been the biggest disappointment of all when we received the phone call letting us know she won’t get to walk across the stage and hear her name called with distinction as a graduate of the Germantown High School Class of 2020. Sure, she’ll get her diploma. Probably in a drive through line with only me and her Dad present. You’re kidding, right? We don’t want a Big Mac.

We want to see our daughter, my first-born baby, walk across the stage. We want to hear her name called. We want to hold up signs and cheer for her and congratulate her surrounded by family. We want to take pictures of her with her friends throwing their caps in the air and celebrating the life that lies ahead of them. That isn’t going to happen now. The prom dress will stay in the closet, unworn, until it’s safe to return it to the store. We’ll take pictures in a cap and gown ordered off Amazon. We will survive, but the sheer disappointment is still there.

While Evan has really been a trooper throughout all of this, today’s news brought tears. As a Mama there is nothing more painful than seeing your child hurt and knowing there is absolutely nothing you can do to make it better.

Seniors Need our Patience and Love Right Now

As adults, we sometimes minimize the emotions of teenagers. We know life goes on. We know in the grand scheme of things, this is a small blip on the radar of their lives; but think about it. How excited were you to graduate high school? The parties, the friends, the memories, the laughs. It’s a big deal, a very big deal. I can’t imagine missing out on Senior Prom, Senior Skip Day, sports, laughs shared in the hallways and cafeteria.

Most of all, I can’t imagine no graduation ceremony. So think about all of the Seniors out there and try to be understanding when they are sad, or short-tempered. They are going through something unprecedented and quite frankly traumatic in their lives. They need patience and extra love right now.

I realize we are in the midst of a global pandemic and people are sick; unfortunately some are dying. I grieve over it. I pray for those affected. We are doing our part by staying home. But this…this is our world right now and it’s just not fair.

Kenda McMillian

Kenda Tatum McMillian is a guest writer from Vicksburg, MS now living in Madison. She is married with 3 children and 2 grown bonus sons. When she's not working or busy running kids around she loves watching college sports, especially the Mississippi State Bulldogs.

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