On 2.20.20, my daughter forwarded me an email whose subject line read, "You're Graduating! 100 Days Until Commencement." I was excited. I felt proud. I was ready to attend GRADUATION and bare witness to the successful completion of her undergraduate college career at the school of her dreams. Go #risd2020!
Twenty-one days later . . . students had to completely move out of campus housing for the remainder of the semester; online classes would begin after Spring break; the Seniors' Fashion Show was cancelled; and the graduation ceremony scheduled for 5.30.20 was highly unlikely. (Side bar -- this was also the day that Broadway announced that they were shutting down until April 12th (now it's 6.7.20), so my April 4th tickets to see the Tina Turner Musical with friends and family members for my birthday had to be rescheduled.)
Honestly, I was gut punched. I could not wrap my mind around how graduating seniors would not have a graduation ceremony nor their senior activities. It took me a few days to mourn the loss of these life milestones because we had invested so much and waited so long. I needed a minute to get out of my feelings.
It's here that I want to encourage others to be mindful of the fact that people, young and "older" (not old), have endured a variety of losses as a result of the Coronavirus. People have lost loved ones, jobs, businesses, money, health insurance, access to healthy meals, distance from abusers, freedom to live their best lives, proms, senior trips, college sweatshirt days, graduations and the opportunity to do the things that seniors do to create memories together for the last time in that place.
In the midst of these difficult times, there are people who step forward to help others get through it. I want to thank our front line workers everywhere, in every capacity, who are risking their lives to help us get through this pandemic.
I also want to thank those who are helping others in ways we don't see publicly. Those who are shopping for their neighbors. Those who are providing financial assistance to people who need it. Wives who are lining up their husband's hairline (LOL); and Makeup Artists who are helping brides do their own makeup for their virtual weddings (shout out Meagan J for her work in this area!)
There may be things that don't seem important to you or are not a big deal in your opinion, but it means something to others. Life is still moving forward on many levels and people need help on different frequencies. Let's respect that. Let's honor that and not be so dismissive. "The little things matter a lot." I encourage us all to remember that.
So, I'm excitedly working with some parents "up North" and "down South" who want to celebrate the hard work of their children who are going off to college this fall. What we're creating in honor of these amazing seniors will be "COVID-19 Complient" and so much fun. Tune in on social media to see what happens.
Note that a "reworked" graduation celebration for my daughter & her friends is in the works. We've got to do something. Not just because I'm an Event & Wedding Planner and I do what I love. It's happening because this is what I've been called to do. It is who I am and I won't apologize for it. I've been called to help people #celebratelife. Celebrations help us to see the good in life. Celebrations help us to reconnect with others when time and distance has kept us apart. Celebrations create good memories and make for good stories. Celebrations help us to play harder than we work.
We need some light and joy in the midst of this tough time. So, let's remember the #classof2020 & celebrate!