Today my daughter graduates from high school. While a mere high school education is something many sneer at these day, it is still the culmination of a lot of work. It is rightly a proud moment for both parent and child.
And my daughter has done more than just get through high school. She was very involved on campus, took hard classes, volunteered, and even took a zero period class her junior year, which involved getting up earlier than most teens can manage. I would have never done that in high school.
Come the end of summer she will be off to college. A transition in life for all of us.
A simple and common suburban story. But we live in interesting times.
A pandemic, a crumbling economy, the worst unemployment since the great depression, and protests against injustice and police brutality against African Americans… all of which have been made manifestly worse for every American by an obscenely narcissistic president whose calculations are only ever based on what he can do in a given moment to benefit himself… means that normalcy isn’t a thing even out in the suburbs.
We are under both stay at home orders due to the pandemic and a curfew due to protests. Social distancing requirements mean that there will be no traditional graduation ceremony nor any sort of grad night party. We will be having a drive through graduation instead. Students have a time slot when their family can drive up. Students will hop out of the car, get their diploma, have their picture taken on the set where this will take place, then get back in their car and drive off. The pictures will be assembled into a video with music and narration that will be posted in a couple of weeks so relatives can see the ceremony.
Not the big event she was expecting back at the start of her senior year. She is disappointed.
The future is uncertain as well. The college she will be attending has been saying that there will be classes as normal come the fall semester, that students will live on campus and, while some precautions will be necessary, things will be mostly normal. But they haven’t committed to that wholeheartedly yet and a lot of other schools… like the whole California State University system, with 23 campuses and nearly half a million students (not to be confused with the University of California system and its 10 campuses and quarter million students)… have already declared that come the fall some or all learning will be remote. So we are still waiting on that.
And yet we know we are better off than many. I still have my job. The bills are still getting paid. My wife, a real estate agent, managed to close a deal during the pandemic, which is a key part of the whole “paying for college” plan. We’re still healthy as is our extended family.
Things are still pretty good, all things considered. So we’re thankful for that.