Prom Dresses and Track Meets

As a parent of a senior this spring has hit you really hard.

You have experienced a mix of sadness and, honestly, anger. You never envisioned having to return your daughter’s prom dress. The look in her eyes when she brought it down to you and your wife. She did not know, but you did not mail it for days, weeks, holding out hope. Something she is learning is to give up on routine as well.

The saddest thing you are noticing is seeing her increasingly grow accustomed to the cancellations, the repeated disappointments. Or, at least, this has become her protection mechanism. Email after email brings another cancellation, more special moments that will never happen and cannot ever be replaced. And while you understand steps needed to be taken, you also know that you need to help your oldest daughter, and her five younger siblings, begin to balance the value of our livelihood, of living, and of life.

There may never be a “cure” or vaccination, just as there is no cure for countless other viruses and diseases. There inevitably will be a new virus, there will always be risk, something bad can always happen. Those things are what makes life so precious and why life’s special moments such as prom, graduation, and a graduation parties are so utterly special, irreplaceable, and truly essential.

Finding a Way to Exist in the Meantime

In addition to the ceremonies and traditions of prom and graduation, though, your daughter and all of her teammates are missing out on what would likely have been a record breaking, probably even state title winning track season. Waiting most of four years for this final season, the coaches, the parents, but most of all the athletes were ready for this victory.

Through all of the disappointments, however, you have watched your oldest daughter prepare wood craft kits for the younger kids in the house, play sports board games with her brothers, and even sit and put together 750 piece jigsaw puzzles with her grandmother. Knowing that she is blessed to not only be surrounded by parents and siblings, but also her one living grandparent, has made these days bearable.

As an entire nation mourns the events that have been cancelled this Spring of 2020, it should come as no surprise that there are some families who are fairing better than others. From the families who make Sunday afternoon indoor and outdoor sports board games a new tradition to the families who have played every card game imaginable, there are some indications that these days will be remembered as being filled with wonderful memoirs, as well as the disappointments. And while no sports board game, no matter how robust, can take the place of a high school championship track meet, there are scores of younger siblings who are living their best lives. They are no longer being drug along to event after event to watch their older brothers and sisters compete, but instead have their family home with them to build blanket forts, camp in the backyard, and eat family meals together.

Just what will transpire when the schedules return to normal is difficult to predict, but many hope that the new set of family traditions will remain. Movement gets the brain going, and an active body makes for an active brain, so learning is more effective when it is a hands-on affair. Perhaps this is the reason that teachers are using this time to encourage the parents of their students to provide movement and brain breaks during the required remote learning times. And in those hours upon hours when nothing is scheduled, parents are dragging out the sports board games of the past and creating a new kind of competition. A competition that involves parents and kids, and hopefully lots of laughter to counterbalance the disappointing tears. Research shows that the brain makes the most connections among its cells before a child turns 10, so parents across the country should be working to keep their youngest children engaged and interacting with a wide range of resources, while at the same time helping older children find substitutes for both proms and track meets alike.

What is on your schedule today?

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