‘I submitted a refund request for the trip we planned for a year. My son said, ‘Well, I guess I’ll never get a prom.’: Mom reminds us kids are affected by the pandemic too

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“’I just really wanted to go to Europe, I’ve wanted to go my whole life.’ This is what I said to my husband as I submitted the request for a refund for the trip we planned for a year. ‘Mom, I am so mad I won’t get to play now.’ This is what my son said to me when his games were cancelled. ‘Well, I guess I’ll never get a prom.’ My older son says after finding out his senior prom was cancelled as well.

Did you grieve the loss of the year 2020? Do you even realize there is a loss to grieve? We can’t ignore it. We can’t just accept the ‘new normal’ without realizing what’s been lost. This may not be a popular opinion and that’s okay. We lost something this year. As a country, as a community, as a generation—there’s been a loss. Nothing is as it was. Everything has changed. We weren’t prepared. We weren’t ready, and yet it happened.

How many high school seniors didn’t have the graduation they pictured their entire lives? How many high school students didn’t have the prom they always dreamed they would have? How many vacations were canceled? How many trips to the playground didn’t happen? This is all loss, and to me, it is also sadness.

I had a high school senior who didn’t get the prom that should have happened. He didn’t get the graduation or the big trip to Europe we had planned. He was laid off from his job and then didn’t work all summer. I have a middle school student that made the baseball team. He worked so hard to get on the team and then the week before he was going to play—all games were canceled. I remember telling him it could always be worse, which he agreed. But it is still loss.

Courtesy of Julie Long

The kids have been amazing. They roll with the punches like superheroes. What kind of impact is this having on them? We won’t know for a long time, I’m sure. Loss is a real part of life, but never in a million years did I expect to have to comfort a teen because his entire baseball season was cancelled and now fall sports are as well.

Courtesy of Julie Long

What are we doing about this as parents? I don’t have the answers and I don’t know what to have anybody else in any other family do. I think we all have to do what’s right for ourselves. Trying new things and activities is always good in my opinion. Our boys have gone kayaking and we’ve gone on hiking trips. We’ve gone fishing and made a garden that produced good food this year. None of it makes up for what was lost. But it can give you something else to do.

We, as parents, tend to think the problems of our kids aren’t really that big of a deal. Usually in comparison OUR problems are so much more complicated. But they haven’t lived as long as us. They haven’t had the life experiences we have. So, THEIR problems are a big deal to them! I couldn’t tell you how many times my oldest has said how stressed he is. Or how frustrated my youngest is with online school.

Don’t minimize their problems. Let the kids cry if they need to cry. Let the kids pout a little bit if they need to pout. Holding in feelings isn’t a good idea. Talk about it. We’ve had several conversations with our boys (who are teens) about this loss. I’ve told them before and I’ll tell them again, ‘It could always be worse.'”

Courtesy of Julie Long

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Julie Long. Follow her journey on Instagram hereDo you have a similar experience? We’d like to hear your important journey. Submit your own story here. Be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.

Read more stories from Julie here:

‘I had to remind my son whose prom has been postponed, ‘It could always be worse.’ School was their haven. It was their happy place.’: Mom asks others to not lose their perspective, ‘It could always be worse’

‘My little sister and brother were taken to a foster home. They were only 5 and 3 years-old. They were so scared.’: Woman recounts journey to becoming a foster parent ‘we needed to take one step at a time’

‘Who’s going to be my mommy?’ That’s the question I was asked on the way to daycare from a 4-year-old little boy.’: Foster parent recalls difficult moment with foster child ‘You never know when you say ‘yes’ what the outcome will be’

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