She did it. She graduated. In the middle of a global pandemic.
For the class of 2020, the loss of normalcy has been particularly sharp.
No prom. No ditch day. No yearbook signing. No overly long graduation ceremony plopped in a folding chair, hot and uncomfortable while swaddled in unbreathable polyester and a weird hat that keeps sliding off — all for the payoff of 5 golden seconds to cross a stage and grab your diploma while the bleachers erupt with cheers at your name.
To not have any of that sucks, in the worst way.
Yet it’s amazing the things we gain when we’re not bound by tradition or the expected. You dig deep to get creative and find other, meaningful ways to celebrate. It’s also surprising how at a time when we have to stand 6 feet apart, we can feel closer and more connected than ever.
No. 2 was devastated that her whole family wouldn’t see her close the book on her school career. It’s been a long road, one slowed by speed bumps and pitted with car-swallowing potholes. But she made it across to the other side.
But there was no last chance to say thanks or good bye to the amazing teachers whose dedication made this all possible. They dealt with tantrums and triumphs with equal grace. It was more than enough that they held her hand and got her through the toughest part of her educational career, yet they still did one more, selfless thing and drove past our house, honking and waving to celebrate with her.
No. 2 — who was lured into the front yard under the pretense of taking pictures with her graduation signs — was stunned when she realized what was happening and that her favorite teachers were streaming by on our street.
“I feel so special,” she said, choking back tears. “I want to hug them so bad.”
I never like to impose on people, so it felt awkward asking for the favor, but then I realized that this was their victory as much as hers.
It wasn’t the same as an oppressive high school football stadium on a hot May night. Not by a long shot. This was better.