I am not the mom of a 2020 senior. 

Or, I wasn’t until my city began an “Adopt a Senior” page online. 

The premise was simple — our community would come together to celebrate the class of 2020. Each senior would have a few facts about them posted on the page by friends or family, and the community would step up to “adopt” them. The hope was that each senior would be adopted by two people who would bring little gifts in an attempt to take away a bit of the sting caused by the cancellation of a traditional graduation. 

Within days, nearly 2,000 community members clamored to adopt the class of 2020, with dozens of comments appearing under each smiling picture. Former teachers beamed with pride while gifting their now-adult students. Family friends posted pictures proclaiming their love to children they have watched grow.

And, in most cases, total strangers showed up on doorsteps with gift baskets clutched in our hands, honored with the opportunity to show the class of 2020 how very proud we are.

I see in my “adopted son” what I wish for my own kids. A baseball player, like my own sons. A dedicated student, a peer mediator, and a kid whose family made sure to mention has a wonderful sense of humor. Matthew, I wish you the best in the years to come. I can’t wait to see what you accomplish in life.

I join my community in offering the following message to “our” seniors:

Dear Class of 2020,

You have shown an amazing amount of resiliency as you finished your schooling in a manner new to us all. Your relentless optimism in the face of the crushing disappointment of your senior activities being lost is an inspiration to us all.

It may seem as though you are leaving high school — and your youth — without ever really finishing. 

In reality, your youth is like a book. You began your story as the first babies born after 9/11. Your childhood took place during a time when we adults were trying to figure out how to live in a world that had been reshaped in an instant. As the story of your youth ends, you are now stepping into adulthood as the first generation, yet again, as we learn to reshape our world in the wake of COVID-19. 

The time of your youth may be book-ended by tragedy, but you have persevered. 

You have been resilient in the face of discouragement, adaptive in the face of change, strong in the face of heartbreak. You hold unique talents, strengths, and abilities that will surpass those of the generation before you. You are an inspiration.

And so, class of 2020, as you close the door to your youth, I leave you with this final message:

Brush your teeth.
Eat your vegetables.
Drink enough water.
Chase your dreams.
Change the world for the better.

We know you can do it, and we can’t wait to be a part of it. 

~ “Mom”

Deanna Greenstein
Deanna is a mom of five (yes, five) children, who lives in Brockton with her small circus of kids, her husband, their dog Penny, and a few cats. Her life is loud, energetic, mostly fun, often gross (did she mention four of those kids are boys?), and she wouldn't have it any other way. In between carting kids to school, baseball, gymnastics, guitar, dance, track and field and every other kid activity known to mankind, she works as a school bus driver for the city of Brockton, and is the Director of Religious Education at the Unity Church of North Easton, a Unitarian Universalist congregation. Deanna also holds degrees in Elementary Physical Education and Dance Education, which she plans to put back into use one day. At parties, Deanna can often be found hanging out with family pets. She follows her children around with a camera like the paparazzi, is pretty sure that 97% of her blood stream is made of coffee, and her laundry is never done. You can also find her blogging at https://eighteenmoreyearsofburpsandfarts.wordpress.com