Unfortunately, even a pandemic doesn’t freeze time.
This is it. This is what our kids get.
I am the mom of three teenagers in the thick of COVID. My youngest daughter started high school in the fall. Her entire freshman year, at least, will be completely colored by the pandemic. She’s gotten to do many things, but she’s also had to endure many changes, disappointments and make many adjustments.
My oldest daughter is a high school senior. That means that she started her senior year and the whole process of applying to and selecting colleges in the middle of pandemic life, assuming things will get better soon but planning for things that currently would not be an option.
I want for her to have the same opportunities as every “headed to college” kid. I want the progressions, the phases of life, the rites of passage, to apply to her like they have to everyone before her.
I want for her to know that she isn’t going to miss out on more things.
But in reality I don’t know if that’s true. I don’t know how much of the college experience will be taken from her. I’m not sure if she is looking forward to things that will never go back to being like they were again. I don’t know what is in store for next year.
I have a son that was away in his freshman year of college when the pandemic hit. If you have a college kid, you know that COVID is really impacting their experience in such a significant way. There’s been a lot more time back home, which is fabulous yet also disappointing and confusing when you’re supposed to be learning to be independent.
“Spread your wings!”, we tell them.
“Now come back home and you aren’t allowed to go anywhere or touch anything”, we tell them.
Then we say, “Okay, now go spread your wings again mostly, but also wear a mask.”
Not confusing at all, right? There’s been online classes, limited interactions on campus and lots of extracurriculars that just aren’t happening at college. The pandemic is going on longer than any of us wanted, and my son’s “college years” are not going to look at all like what was expected or what most of us get to experience.
They’ve learned and modeled selflessness, as they wear a mask for others.
Flexibility is seen almost daily as their game gets cancelled, someone close gets sick or the world throws them another curve ball.
They’ve learned empathy, and they genuinely care about the health and wellbeing of others, even those that they don’t know.
The COVID teens don’t take things for granted. They’ve learned to appreciate simple things like attending school in person, playing a sport or sitting at a restaurant with grandparents.
I wait with baited breath to see what these kids will do.