From the “Love My Senior” Facebook profile frames to the “Drive-By Birthday Party” article on Patch.com, disappointment is lurking around every corner. While I was walking (a healthy 6-feet-apart and then some) with my neighborhood friend, she shared some of the other disappointments to the mix: canceled bridal and baby showers, weddings, anniversary trips, etc. The emotional buoyancy we acquire through the natural rhythms of milestone celebrations seems to be elusive right now.
That is if we fail to make contingency plans.
Maybe the celebrations might look a bit different than we had planned, but that doesn’t mean they need to be skipped entirely.
I’m in this with you. My son is 18, a high school senior who has not committed to a college as of yet. My daughter is 16, a high school junior with her eye on the most competitive college in our state, but ACT and SAT exams are getting canceled left and right, and this is a critical time for her admissions application. Will either of them have a high school prom this year? Will all the senior activities be canceled? Graduation? What about their summer birthdays? Their jobs?
What about all those college seniors and their graduations? It’s a real thing.
Yes, there are more “critical” concerns, such as the stability of our national health and economy—but for many of us strong women, we are the CEO of the Emotion Department in our households, and the weight of holding the ocean of emotions might be heavier than usual right now. That’s why even as we manage the messy middle of the unknown in the area of celebrations for ourselves and others—we need a contingency plan.
If we can be open to the options, we may just come through this coronavirus season with a whole lot of grace, enough to share with the people around us. Let’s start with something for the littles.
If you’ve not yet turned to Zoom.us or Facebook Live, or even one of my favorite freebies, the StreamYard app, here’s your chance. Host a virtual birthday party. Michael’s is offering grab and go curbside pick-up for online orders. These options can allow you to host a party that could include a craft that everyone makes during an online experience. Pinterest is also stocked with mug cake recipes you can make in the microwave—another simple way to enhance each guest’s party experience.
How can we solve the issue of prom cancellations?
In this case, it might be best to postpone until later in the summer. Most kids who attend the junior or senior prom go with a group of kids they hang with on a regular basis. This is a good opportunity to confer with the moms of the group and pull a collab together for later in the summer. All you need is a host house and a few team members for the decoration and food committees to pull out a fun night the teenagers will remember. It will be the pictures and hanging out with their friends all dressed up that they will be missing the most!
Showers and weddings, oh my!
These will be major disappointments for many. If this hits close to home for you, I recommend that you either share the suggestions here with a close friend or relative so you can be the beneficiary of the blessing. Or, be that amazing person that makes sure that a special element shows up for the milestone.
These are precious times that come with a heavy amount of emotion. Here’s an opportunity to parse out the emotional from the celebratory. Words have power. Whether they are written or spoken, this is an opportunity to make sure the words are shared with those who are experiencing their “special” moment amid a crisis.
While this may be a case to postpone a large gathering—like one-year birthday parties for babies, or wedding-related events, such as a shower, one-year anniversary, or a wedding reception, I wouldn’t delay the sharing of words. This could be done one of two ways.
Spoken words. Invite guests to send a short video to the guests of honor sharing a sentiment about their special day. If guests have forwarded gifts directly to the guests of honor, you could record the opening of the gifts and send out a video as a “Thank You” with a special message. Remember, the priority is celebrating the guest of honor in this case—a party for the guest can happen at a later date.
Or written words. Invite your guests to send in a card or letter. The guest of honor could read the letters on video and send back a personal “Thank you” to the guest. This would make for a very special scrapbook of the milestone. One that will last a lifetime.
Now onto my personal quandary—graduation.
The jury is still out on whether the graduation ceremony for my senior will be canceled. However, many have already been canceled and I’m hearing whispers of virtual ceremonies from large institutions are now in the works. What if that ends up being the case? For me, I’m prepared to make this the most special occasion that I can for my son.
While I’m quarantined, I will take advantage of the opportunity to pull together all of the kid collateral I’ve been collecting from the last 18 years and scrapbook, organize, and build a Pinterest board for unique ways to display all this “stuff.” I’ll also be making a list of loved ones and friends who we would invite to graduation festivities. Announcements will be ordered as soon as we have some details from the school. And if we go virtual, we will do it with some flair, that’s for sure!
There will be cake! I will invite all those who love and want to bless our boy with words of wisdom and encouragement to email, snail mail, text, etc. their “well wishes.” His father and I will read these words over him—even if it’s over a nice dinner I cook at home (or even take-out for that matter)! They will be collected, preserved, and cherished.
I will put together a senior year slideshow and figure out some way to send it to all those who have loved, supported, and cheered him across this finish line. I am determined that we will celebrate. How I choose to handle this disruption to what we had planned is key.
As the mom, we too are leading in a time of crisis. Our kids are looking to see how we manage our emotions over disappointments, always. The truth is, plans can always change. This time we just know they are changing in advance. That’s why developing a contingency plan is key to how we weather this crisis in our own little organizations.
Remember, you are the Emotional CEO, you are leading the way. Yes, it will take some grit and grace, but it’s not above your pay grade. You do this on a tiny scale every day. I’m confident we can all rise to the occasion.
Need more encouragement when plans change and times are tough? Start here:
An Open Letter to the Coronavirus Bride
A 30 Day Challenge That Will Boost Your Mood
If You’re in a Hard Season, It’s Time to Speak Life
5 Ways to Handle Hard Circumstances with Grit and Grace
Parenting Adult Children—The Great Shift of Motherhood
6 Ways to Cultivate Joy in the Grit and Grace Life
When Life Gives You a New Normal
Don’t miss these popular articles:
What Makes a Sister the Best Kind of Friend
3 Ways Positive Self-Talk Can Improve Your Life
Dear Wife of the Badge, You Are Strong
Unplanned Pregnancy—the Tale of Two Girls
Ask Dr. Zoe – Are These Pre-Wedding Jitters or Marriage Red Flags?
50 Weird Things That Make All Women Happy
Are Meal Kits Worth It? A Review of The Most Popular Boxes
2 Ways to Break Free From Self-Sabotage
You’ll love this podcast episode from This Grit and Grace Life: Why Strong Women Can (and Should) Rebuild Themselves with Molly Stillman – 125!