This is the time of year when parents are sharing all the big accomplishments and honorary awards their senior is celebrating. Scroll through any social media outlet and you will be sure to find countless pictures of soon-to-be graduates, along with all the highlights that are culminating the end of their high school years. You will also find a bombardment of big announcements sharing the incredible plans their kids have for their future.
There are gorgeous snapshots of seniors experiencing their very best life, as they receive all the accolades they truly deserve. There are countless college acceptance letters coming in and various scholarships awarded to those kids who have worked hard to earn them. Many have been successful in extracurricular activities such as sports, theater, music, or art, along with others who have prepared for upcoming jobs at career centers or already started college classes during these years. It’s an exciting season full of soon-to-be graduates preparing for trade school, joining the military, or anything else they want to pursue. Big things are happening with our seniors and parents are so excited to share it all.
It’s truly amazing to see these young people preparing to take flight into their future. Everyone is well aware that the pressure is high, the expectations are huge, and the stress of it all can be heavy for seniors, as they face so many decisions on the crossroads ahead. It’s also a very emotional time for both the seniors and their parents. They are feeling nostalgic and sad, excited and anxious during this big transition, and knowing others feel the same way gives parents a sense of community and support.
With every happy announcement posted by parents, there are comment threads full of congratulations and support, celebrating what an incredible kid they have, as parents soak it up and take it all in because they are so proud of their kid too. There are interactions about all the feelings parents have during such a significant time in their lives. It’s one big parental graduation party, and people show UP for it with applause and comradery.
And then there’s you and your struggling senior.
You see all those posts in your feed, full of big news and gorgeous photos, as you scroll through social media. Then you fall once again, into a sinkhole of sadness each time you’re faced with the reality you bear that is so heavy and hard. And although you are truly happy for these kids and their parents and wish the very best for them all, life just doesn’t seem fair.
So, you offer your congratulations and feel even more alone because no one shares the dark side of parenting that you are crawling through with bloodied knees and tear-stained eyes. You don’t see posts about the ugly side of life, filled with desperate pleas for help from those who are simply trying to survive.
There aren’t any posts about seniors who aren’t graduating because they are unable to push through to the end of the year. You don’t see stories about any seniors who are in the hospital suffering from illness or in a rehab facility fighting addiction or on a psychiatric unit drowning in depression. You don’t see parents sharing how hard it is to have a teen who refuses to go to school or a child who’s run away from home.
And you constantly think to yourself, “What about them? What about their parents? What about my kid? What about me?”
If this is your plight and your plea, please know you are not alone. There are so many other seniors who are struggling but no mom wants to share the details of their own despair when their kids are going through really hard things. No one would choose to publicly divulge their own child’s suffering and their very personal and private affairs. So that leaves moms like you in the shadows, quietly crying, silent, and alone in your pain.
You might have a senior who doesn’t care about passing classes or going to school and might not graduate because they are failing academically and they have given up on trying.
You might have a senior who is suffering from a debilitating mental illness and you have been trying so hard to get them the help they need.
You might have a senior who has been physically sick or diagnosed with a dreadful disease and you have been trying so hard to find the medical treatments to help them heal.
You might have a senior who is defiant and spiraling out of control with their rebellious behavior and you are trying so hard to reel them back in.
You might have a senior who is battling addiction and you are trying so hard to get them the resources and support they need to get clean and stay sober.
You might have a senior who is irresponsible and apathetic, who makes no effort and just doesn’t care, and you’re trying so hard to motivate them and guide them in doing anything at all.
You might have a senior who feels lost and alone, excluded from social groups, and isolated in their room, and you are desperately trying to connect with them and get them into counseling.
And this list could go on and on…
And you’re trying so hard and doing all you can do. You are so very tired and worn down from it all.
And my heart aches for all you have endured. My heart breaks just thinking about all the stress and suffering you’ve been through. My heart hurts for your beloved senior because I know their pain is real and their lives are so very hard.
Whatever difficult and desperate season you’re in, please know that it takes a mighty warrior to stay strong and persevere. Whatever painful road you’re traveling on, it takes a brave and resilient soldier to stay in the battle. Whatever dark and helpless situation you’re enduring right now, please know I’m amazed at your relentless fight, your constant care, and your inexhaustible love for your child.
Oh, dear mom, please know you are seen.
Right now, you probably feel discouraged and even defeated. But this season you are in will someday end and a new one will begin.
And although this part of your senior’s story is taking you through terrifying terrain and you would give anything to change this hell you’re in. Although you must feel so devastated and desperately want a happy and healthy child to celebrate. Hold onto the hope that their story does not end here. There are so many more chapters ahead that will unfold in time… You’re just in a really terrible part of the plot. And right now, you are the heroine, the help, and the sustainer that holds all the broken pieces and parts together until they find their right place. You play the most pivotal and powerful role in your beloved child’s story. You were made for this mission. And I know there will come a day when you can look back and see how you survived this harrowing hardship. And most importantly, you will see how your struggling senior healed and overcame this excruciating part of their life and grew into all God created them to be.
And in time, you will have your moments to shine, sharing pictures and announcements full of your amazing kid’s triumphant success. And it will be that much sweeter, after overcoming all the obstacles and dark tunnels to get there. There will be SO much to celebrate once you and your struggling senior endure this long road of such suffering.
Hold on. Stay strong. Have hope. You are not alone. And most importantly, please know you are an amazing mom.
If you are reading this and need support, help, guidance, and a community who cares, contact Sheryl here.