To the 2020 Grads...
We are finishing our basement, which means we’ve gone through all the contents we’ve acquired in the last 18 years or so. I fell into a vortex when I stumbled upon the box full of our yearbooks, and smiled as I flipped the page and saw this photo. It was taken at the after-grad party when I was the escort of my Grade 12 boyfriend. They were the class of 2000 and I was jealous they got such a cool year to call their’s. It’s funny how vividly I remembered the emotions flipping through those black and white pages. It was as clear as yesterday.
This weekend I hopped in the car, ready to run some errands, happily taking shot-gun to my teenaged son. This is fairly new, and frankly, a dream come true. I’ve always wanted a driver and he wants nothing more than to drive. Yet again I’ve stumbled upon a new parenting milestone that is even better than I expected. (He’s a great driver. I hold the right to change my judgement on whether this is amazing depending on which child is learning.)
As we pulled away from our house, “Good Riddance” by Green Day came on the radio. And in that moment I had an out-of-body, intense full-circle moment as I looked over to driver’s seat, and then back in my passenger-side mirror. Despite the vivid and fond memories I had just sunk into going through the yearbook, I am the mom. Of a teenager. One that can legally operate a vehicle and navigate roads and highways.
Wasn’t I just driving with my friends, windows down, sipping on slurpees, listening to this song having no idea what it really meant as Billie Jo Armstrong softly sang, “I hope you had the time of your life”?
But, according to the math, I haven’t been a teenager in exactly 18 years. And while that alone holds some sort of serendipitous beauty, it is also decidedly NOT yesterday.
I looked back over at my son, and thought about how much is ahead of him. He is on the precipice of the years you harken back to around fires as a 30-something adult. Good or bad those memories are emblazoned in stone. They hold the moments that made you who you are, or who you swore you’d never be.
Jenna and I talked on the podcast about how sorry we were for the Class of 2020. How we remember the excitement building up to Graduation, the parties, the freedom, the undaunted confidence that you were about to become whoever you wanted to be. The feeling that life was just getting started as you spent your last summer at home, close enough to being a kid but on your way to growing up.
I’m not even sure if bush parties are still a thing. I know that kids now don’t have to plan an entire weekend on Friday at school, or cruise down the main street to meet up with the rest of the school to figure out where the last minute parties were. But I can imagine all the feelings that go along with being a graduate are the same.
So grads of 2020, this does suck. I’m so sorry for those of you who had your dresses or your suits, who found the perfect hairstyle, the perfect date, and watched the classes ahead of you get the send-off you won’t get this year.
But what I can assure you, with all the legitimacy of being exactly double your age right now, is that all the other stuff- the excitement, the anticipation for what the future holds, and being a little scared but not wanting to admit it to your parents, well, no pandemic can put a damper on that.
Yes, songs from the 90’s are probably as corny to you all as anything from the 80’s is to me, but I remember singing the lyrics when I was your age, and as someone watching your graduation class navigate extraordinary times, the song is as relevant now as it was back then.
These are going to be your memories to tell around the fire, not ours, and while, “It's something unpredictable, but in the end it's right, I hope you had the time of your life.”