This was to be your swan song year. The year you finally were to strut around the school and go to the seniors’ lounge, wearing the graduation hoodie that would make you the envy of the rest of the school.
This year you should have been the captain of the team. You were meant to celebrate college acceptance by high-fiving and hugging friends. The senior grad trip was in your grasp and slipped through your fingers.
You had wanted to form a band and stay late after school to chat with teachers. This year was to be the reason you went to high school. You would finally get to enjoy your senior slide.
But you won’t. You have more important things to do, and we are going to ask you to grow up too fast for us because we need you.
Prom will be a hard night for you, I’m sure. The dress, the anticipation, the fun is sanitized in the company of your family at home. I’m sorry. You have missed so much and sacrificed milestones you earned, parties you deserved, games you trained for, and celebrations you needed to end a chapter to begin another. Nothing can take away your pain. Nothing but time.
I can tell you pain makes you stronger. It doesn’t feel like it at the time, but it does. Sacrifice for others though, makes you heroic. It is hard to do what you’ve done, and you did it for people you didn’t know and will never meet. They will not get the chance to thank you for your sacrifice, so let me thank you. You are a hero now, and you can be proud. Wear that beautiful dress or that new suit, cry those tears, and be proud of the accomplishments you have accumulated.
If this pandemic has taught us anything about the generation some call snowflakes, it is that those snowflakes are more than water. You are heart, determination, strength, power, and understanding. You work hard because it’s right, not because it’s required. So snowflake generation, show us Gen Xers, how it’s done. Show the Millennials, and show the Boomers that you have arrived. You are sturdier than we give you credit for, and you’re fucking badass. Throw that hat in the air and drop that mic. We haven’t seen the best of you yet. And I, for one, can’t wait to see how you make the world better.
Congratulations on your graduation, hero.