My son came out of his room today after his online classes looking a bit anxious, so I asked him if everything was alright. This is what he said.
"I'm thinking of the past and overthinking the future. I didn't know that day that I left school before the school lockdown was going to be my last day in school. I'll never meet my friends again in school, no more break-time football, no more getting up to mischief there. I'm never going to carry my school bag again nor will I have a chance to wear my uniform again....if only I had known."
My heart sank. I felt so very sorry for him. I wanted to bawl my eyes out!
It is most definitely hard to accept the fact that you had your last day of high school, and you didn’t even know it. The realisation that he may have already walked the school halls and be in a class with his friends for the very last time is now starting to sink in.
Senior year is supposed to be an exciting time for most. It's the last of many things. Reminiscing on years spent roaming the halls, the last of years of football games during break-time, getting up to mischief when teachers are not looking. It's a special year, regardless of what my son has been saying for the past couple of years - wishing he didn't have to go to school and that he can't wait for school to be over!
Now that he's almost here, the end of this particular chapter in his life, he wishes more than anything that he could go to school and be with friends. I can understand the grief, anger, resentment and disappointment he's feeling. Together with his tight-knit group of friends, they've been robbed of, what they've been told, should be the best year of their school lives. We all can appreciate how difficult it is to accept when many things you rely on like daily routines, social outings, sports, hobbies, and friends, get taken away from you not knowing when they will return.
They've been deprived of making those important memories and the chance to live all the 'last's of their last school year. The last sporting event of the year, the last time they'll be playing football during break-time, the last school trip, the last dance, but most importantly, the closure they were looking forward to, before starting the next chapters in their lives. It might just be the small things, but they are significant and they will not be able to share these with their closest friends.
Like the rest of the world, Malaysia has been on a roller coaster ride with the number of lockdowns and restricted and controlled movement orders we've had. For the past year, my son has only managed to attend 2 months of physical school. We were both hopeful that this January, schools would re-open, but then, the number of COVID cases climbed to a steep rise so naturally, schools remained closed and online leaning resumed. Now he's 4 months away from leaving school.
As a parent, quite honestly, I feel like punching the pandemic in the throat! The whole world has been brought down to their knees by this virus. Every single person has been affected by it one way or another, and our kids have not been spared.
My dear boy,
As your mom, I want to protect you from all the bad that you're feeling and tell you that all will be okay, but we both know that it won't, and even if it does, we don't know when that will be. I wish I had all the answers, I wish I could tell you when all this will be over, I wish I could turn back time and have you start again at grade 8 so you'll be able to live your senior year as you have imagined it but I can't. I can't make everything magically turn back to the way it was, but...
.....what I WILL do is this!
I will be available to you
I will support you in this difficult time
I will go through this with you and celebrate you in every possible way
I will do whatever in my ability to make your life at home a little easier, even if that means biting my tongue and taking a chill pill when I see the state of your room
I will go through your struggles with you, if you allow me
I will learn alongside you
I will be mindful of the time that we spend together
I will support you while you make difficult decisions about your future
I will look forward to what's to come with you
I will not tell you that everything will be okay.
I will not tell you to suck-it up and carry on
I will not tell you to think positive about the situation
I will not tell you that there are other people who have it worse
I will not tell you to try and see the light at the end of the tunnel - I'd throat punch myself if I did!
As much as I am sorry about all that you have been forced to go through, I am also proud of how you've been handling everything so far. Your tenacity and resilience inspire me and I am so very hopeful for you.
It is painful to watch our kids yearn for their old lives back, hell, we ourselves want so desperately for our lives to get back to the way it was. But with each passing day, as we get used to this norm of working from home, learning from home and all that jazz, the closer we get to our high school seniors ending their high school years in physical isolation, but I am still hopeful.