I remember vividly the feeling I used to get as a kid every May. School was about to end and summer was on our doorstep. As the days got warmer and the evenings got longer, there was only one thing on my mind… summer soccer. I spent every night in my cleats and shinpads, in the sunshine and rain, on those fields. I was reminded of this today as we got the message that my son’s summer theatre performances would be cancelled.
When the email came through just a little bit ago about the loss of summer theatre, there were tears… Not on his face, but streaming down mine.
Remembering my feelings for soccer as a teen, having that torn out of my life would have cut deep. It was more than just kicking around a ball. If you’ve ever played a sport, been on a team or part of a cast, you get it. I made deep friendships on those fields, embraced my fears there, challenged myself there… I grew up there. I woke up every day excited to be there, and I watched the sun go down on those fields every night. It was home.
It was where I could let go of all the things that I thought sucked in my life. We didn’t have much money, but mowing grass I had enough for cleats and Umbro shorts, and on those fields nothing else mattered. I was a teen who lacked confidence – I found it playing soccer, as part of those teams. In the moments where middle school anxiety got heavy, it was immediately lifted when I walked out onto that fresh-cut grass. Those Whitney Fields in Saint Cloud, Minnesota, will always hold a special place in my heart.
Knowing how much losing summer theatre would hurt my son hit me hard. It’s not fair.
None of this is fair.
There are so many “adult” things that this pandemic is destroying. Entrepreneurs are having to surrender the businesses they love. Families are losing loved ones every day, saying goodbye on iPads. Homes are being challenged to pay their bills and buy groceries. There’s trauma around every corner.
Our kids are being hit equally hard… just different. Not more or less – there’s no sense in trying to measure how much one thing hurts over another. We can’t weigh it. It all just hurts.
No more theatre for my son.
No more lacrosse for his twin sister.
No eighth-grade graduation.
No last day of school. No final bell. No running out the door to greet summer.
It all just hurts.
And so today, as you’re wrapping up your “adulting,” make sure to hug your kids. Let them know you’re sorry they’re losing too. Admit to them that you don’t understand how this feels, but that you’ll be there with them to mourn their losses. Remind them that they’re not going through this alone. You don’t have to tell them it will be ok, because right now it doesn’t feel that way to them. Just let them know you’re there. Be sad with them… sometimes that’s enough.