Ready for Something Good: Love for the Class of 2020

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WOW! What a couple of months it’s been! So much has happened everywhere in the world – many have lost loved ones, lost jobs, or cancelled celebrations. Everyone’s lost something during the pandemic. One group that’s missed out on a lot is the graduating high school class of 2020. My daughter is a senior this year. It’s hard realizing what they’ve missed –  the fun and celebration marking the official end of childhood, the last carefree bit before being an “official” adult. I admit, I was feeling pretty sad about it, but then something truly magical happened!

High school’s not an easy four years; junior and senior years are especially hectic. The camaraderie of being with your friends one last time, some you’ve known since preschool, is a rite of passage. Events like the senior trip, senior dinner, final performances, prom and graduation are memories to remember for a lifetime. Students work hard to get to senior year. They deserve to experience those special moments.

“I have a girlfriend who didn’t go to hers {prom}, and every once in a while, she gets this really terrible feeling- you know, like something is missing. She checks her purse, and then she checks her keys. She counts her kids, she goes crazy…and then she realizes that-  NOTHING IS MISSING! She decided it was a side effect from skipping the prom.”

Annie Potts as “Iona”, from the movie Pretty In Pink, 1986

Kidding aside, 2020 seniors are missing out because of quarantine and social distancing; this couldn’t be helped. I’d been thinking how brave, resilient, and graceful my daughter and her friends have been during this; how this generation has been so adaptable to all the changes and disappointment.  “Distance Learning” has been tough enough, but to know that the last time you walked through your school, before lockdown, is THE LAST time you’ll know a regular school day, and without traditional year-end goodbyes and closure, is sad. I wished there was something more that could be done. Then I had an idea. 

I’d seen news and Facebook posts of “birthday” and “teacher” parades – drive-bys done for loved ones, essential workers, or students. I thought, why not do a “reverse parade”, a “Graduating-High-School-Senior-Neighborhood-parade?

In my neighborhood, there’s a “Neighborhood Contact List”, created and managed by a volunteer, and a Facebook group, that keeps us connected. If someone’s missing a pet, for example, or there’s a new family to welcome, a group message can easily be sent out. There are around 100 families collectively. Of that, we have just under a dozen seniors graduating from high school this year in our neighborhood alone! Many of us have watched these kids literally grow up. 

My idea was to have a “Senior Parade”, where a parent would drive their senior, car decorated, through the neighborhood while the other neighbors would be curbside, cheering to show our seniors some support and love!

I sent an email to the list and wrote a post about my idea/request, to see if there was interest- from both families with seniors and those who would decorate and cheer. I had to plan fast, as timing was crucial. I also thought it’d be neat to get a patrol car to lead the way, if we could, and perhaps someone from the fire department. 

I had no idea if it could work. I knew it would need to occur before quarantine was lifted, while there was little traffic, and before the end of school, so as not to interfere with any events, even virtual, that might take place. I also watched the forecast. We experienced multiple, endless weeks of wet, cold weather for much of spring.  After many emails and phone calls, I had a date set. Though the week would be rainy, that Saturday was supposed to be pretty, in the 70s. I worked out details for the lineup with the fire department (a side street would avoid piling up traffic), and gave everyone driving in the procession details for where, when and how the event would occur. I was so worried that things wouldn’t fall into place!

Finally, on the day of the parade, I parked with Audrey on the designated street. We were early, so we could greet each arriving participant.  As the start time drew near, I prayed a little prayer that we wouldn’t be the only ones to show, and there would be enough spectators to make it really special!

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With my graduate. Dear readers, she was in second grade when I started writing here for MaryJanesFarm! Where does time go?

A very nice officer arrived first. He asked me about our parade route plan. Since we’d be driving several blocks and up and down three cul-de-sac streets, he suggested I take the lead, then the patrol car, followed by the other graduate families in their cars. 

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All the cars were decorated and festive

Cars were decorated and festive! It was great to see so many smiling, happy faces after long weeks of isolation!

One by one, cars carrying my daughter’s schoolmates appeared and got in line. Vehicles were decorated, and everyone was so excited! Through-traffic started to jam, so the officer began directing.

It was sunny and hot...great day for the parade!

It was sunny and hot…great day for the parade!

He instructed me that once back in his car, he would give a quick siren as a signal for me to start the procession. It was then that we noticed more patrol cars arriving. As we were about to go, we looked back to see not one, but SIX police vehicles riding with us, all with lights going and sirens BLAZING!

It was so loud and so exciting seeing and hearing all the sirens! (May it be the ONLY time I see red lights and sirens behind me, lol)!

It was so loud and so exciting seeing and hearing all the sirens! (May it be the ONLY time I see red lights and sirens behind me, lol!)

As we turned that first corner, waiting for us was a lineup of shiny, beautiful fire engines – lights flashing, a crane extended overhead, with members waving and cheering as we drove past. It was so moving!

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It was such a treat to see the trucks all there for our kids! Our brave fire force is a volunteer force - thank you for all you do!

It was such a treat to see the trucks all there for our kids! Our brave members are volunteers – thank you for all you do!

The drive was thrilling and loud with the procession of sirens! As we passed friends we’ve known for 25 years, cheering and waving banners, my daughter and I got emotional. Their excitement was contagious, and it made my heart leap to see them.

Seeing our friends made us emotional. Lisa and her daughters were our first visitors at home after Audrey was born. She also taught swimming lessons to countless local children, including my daughter.

Later, when speaking with my friend, she said there was much emotion as spectators, too. The first swell came as they set up at their driveway edge- exactly where they once waited for their now-grown children to come off the school bus. She felt emotional again as we all passed by. One by one, they waved to all our special graduates.

My husband  had such joy when he saw us pass by!

My husband had such joy when he saw us! (He was also relieved, knowing I was concerned that the stars would not align and something wouldn’t work out). 

We turned another corner, with more and more neighbors cheering. Soon we passed my driveway, my husband proudly cheering. We passed more families, and more…

Full sirens filled the air the entire parade! It was so awesome!

Full sirens filled the air the entire parade! It was so awesome! A huge THANK YOU to our wonderful, brave police force, for being there and for ALL you do, always!

With sirens full blast, we turned the corner to a cul-de-sac, quickly realizing EVERYONE was out, waving…cheering…holding signs! I saw my daughter’s face, teary-eyed and elated. I told her, “This is for you! You all worked so hard! Everyone’s so proud!”

We rounded back and headed down the longer street. So many people were out, (all social distancing, of course, in their driveways) – waiting for us, waving. There was cheering and shouts of “Congratulations!” It was so overwhelmingly wonderful! We held back tears the whole time. 

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The yard decorations were all awesome! We even had a blast-from-the-past Presidential appearance! We all died laughing at the sight!

The yard decorations were all awesome! We even had a blast-from-the-past Presidential appearance! We all died laughing at the sight!

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The day after, we took a walk. My daughter poses in front of one of the wonderful messages.

The day after, we took a walk. My daughter poses in front of one of the wonderful messages.

There were signs everywhere! Driveways were painted with chalk, mailboxes and yards were decorated, dogs were dressed up, balloons were flying, kids were jumping, voices were cheering, hands were clapping, and everyone was smiling!

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In one cul-de-sac, one neighbor handed out a yellow rose tied with a blue ribbon (school colors) to each senior. It was such a nice surprise! All the while, the sirens were blasting, lights were flashing; the entire neighborhood was buzzing with cheer! Even our local UPS man stood by, waving! Many were taking pictures or videos. All were joyous…it was a phenomenal experience we all will never forget. 

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I’m not originally from Connecticut, though I’ve lived here in my house more than half my life. During this pandemic and quarantine, with such isolation, this wonderful thing happened for the kids, though we all experienced it, too. I’ve never felt more at home than at that moment.

As we drove down the final road to the parade’s end, the sirens never stopped. The signage and decor was so festive and heartfelt. The happiness carried through the entire parade, a total of 24 minutes. The “Neighborhood-Graduating-High- School-Senior-Parade” was more incredible than I could’ve ever imagined, and I’m grateful to everyone. We all will never forget it. 

There’s been a lot in life to bring us all down lately, and it isn’t the first or the last time in history that some big event will knock us about. But what I love seeing is the human spirit – alive and well, rising up! I saw that very spirit firsthand that sunny Saturday afternoon. The little neighborhood parade became a heartwarming, shared, unforgettable experience. In those precious moments, we told our future generation how we are proud of them; that there’s always something good to look forward to. The faces of all the neighbors, our community…all so joyous, was breathtaking. We were all in this together- ready for something good. 

 

****CONGRATULATIONS TO ALL 2020 SENIORS!*****

Be well! Remember to leave me a comment below so I know you stopped by! 

Until Next Time…Farmgirl Hugs (virtually, and six feet apart), Nicole

Leave a comment 51 Comments

  1. Ramona Puckett says:

    Congratulations ! I got emotional reading about this! Thank y’all for doing this for your graduates!

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Ramona, I am so glad you liked the post. It was a sunny day, for sure, in more ways than one. Thank you for reading and commenting! Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  2. Mary says:

    I am sobbing and smiling! This is beautiful! It feels like I am in the crowd beside the road calling out to you! This is a true all-American celebration of love and support for your daughter and her fellow grads! There is no way this can ever be erased from her memory. Congratulations, you did it!…..

  3. Lori says:

    Very sweet. My own daughter had no college graduation but senior year in high school is a big year. Glad they have this memory!

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Lori, A big CONGRATULATIONS to you and your daughter! Well done! Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  4. Mary Rauch says:

    I am sobbing and smiling! This is beautiful! It feels like I am in the crowd beside the road calling out to you! This is a true all-American celebration of love and support for your daughter and her fellow grads! There is no way this can ever be erased from her memory. Congratulations, you did it!…..
    Mary Rauch in sunny Ohio on Memorial Day!

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Mary, Thank you! It was so breathtaking, coming around the corner, not knowing that so many were there, waiting for us. My daughter was so cute. Last year, she attended the graduation ceremony because as part of the Tech team at school, they were responsible for the filming. She said it was “Better than a graduation!” It made me so happy that she felt such joy! Be well! Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  5. teresa p. says:

    Thanks for sharing such a wonderful time. Congratulations to your daughter and all the graduates of 2020. May we all be well, safe, and find some joy each day!

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Teresa, thank you. You are so right – we always need to find some joy in each day, especially in these times. Be well! Thank you for reading and commenting. Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  6. Pamela K. Coughlin says:

    How wonderful all of this came together for those graduating seniors! Congratulations to them all!
    Thank you for puttig that all together for them!
    Congrats Graduating Class of 2020!!!

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Pamela, Thank you! It was nerve-wracking and fun to put together, and I am so happy it happened for them. The weather could’ve been bad, or there could have been a fire or other emergency call that would have prevented law enforcement or the fire department from being in attendance. I hope the kids remember it for a long time. Thanks so much for reading and commenting! Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  7. Denise says:

    How fabulous!!! Congratulations to your daughter & her friends! I’ll admit I had tears reading this because is was so awesome!

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Denise, thank you so much. It was unforgettable, for sure. I am so glad it worked out! I wish I could’ve taken a pic of my daughter’s face. It was priceless! Thank you for reading and commenting. Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  8. Julie says:

    How Great….I was crying as I read this…I wish I’d been there.
    You’ve made us feel like WE WERE…How wonderful…Thank you for sharing this with us…

    Julie Pruett

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Julie, thank you. It was something I think none of us will ever forget. I hope it made up to the kids some of what they feel they lost. Audrey was walking on cloud 9 for a long time after! Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  9. Marlene Burns says:

    Amazing I cried reading about your parade for your daughter and other seniors. Talk about community and school spirit. That’s so wonderful. Congratulations to your daughter. I have a grandson in Sebring Florida also a senior. We were supposed to attend graduation on May 25. They may plan something similar in July. I was so sad to see it cancelled. Hopefully July will work out. Kiddos mom for a great way to celebrate.

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Marlene, I am so glad to hear from you. Thank you so much for your kind comment, and CONGRATULATIONS to your grandson! I am sad thinking that we are missing out on so much family that were planning on flying in for the graduation, too. Stay safe, stay healthy, and hopefully our lives will have some more normalcy soon. Fingers crossed for your July celebration! Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  10. Nicole, it has been a ruff 2020 with so many events being cancelled, but you are truly amazing! Congratulations to Audrey on her graduation all future endeavors! The senior parade turned out so wonderful and such a great support from everyone. Take care and stay safe, Lynette

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Lynette, thank you so very much! I had the idea and the planning, but it was the officers, the fire department, and the neighbors who made it extra-special! Thanks so much for reading and commenting. Stay well! Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  11. Ellen Ottoson says:

    That was just magnificent! Last week our eldest grandson had the same parade in Waynesvile, OH. Tim took the cab top off the jeep and Alex stood there holding onto the roll bar in his gown and cap. They drove through the route set out and then at the end in their designated parking spots at school, decorated by each senior of course, Tim handed Alex his diploma. Tim is their high school History and American Govt. teacher! We were given excellent pictures by our daughter and will join them for the coming outdoor party in the large back yard. You are right. This becomes a special memory in itself that is precious.

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Ellen, Thank you so much…I am so glad you enjoyed the blog. I love what was done for your grandson, too. I can just see him so proud, wind blowing his gown, driving that route. Congrats to Alex! Stay well! Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  12. Terri says:

    I had to stop reading twice to wipe the tears and blow my nose!! What a wonderful, unforgettable moment in time, in the midst of so much uncertainty, not only for the graduates but for everyone involved in the parade. Thanks for sharing this heartwarming story!!

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Terri, thank you so much! I am so glad you enjoyed the blog. It was wonderful, and I am still so in awe of all my wonderful neighbors, our police and fire departments, who all came together to make it so special! Thanks for reading and commenting! Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  13. June says:

    All you precious souls that planed this will have a special gem in your crown. Thank you.

  14. Linda Stiglich says:

    It’s the uneventful things in our life that get forgotten. It’s when things go awry…good or bad…that we can look back on them as special. Class of 2020 will never forget! Congratulations!

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Linda, Aren’t you right? I miss the weirdest things, like just going to the grocery store like before Covid, and running into friends I know. I am so glad we were able to pull this off for the kids. It was extra-special. Thank you, Linda, for reading and commenting! Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  15. Marilyn says:

    What a nice event. Your neighbors were great with their support of the seniors. Congratulations to all 2020 graduates. I have seen a few car birthdays,too.
    Marilyn

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Marilyn, thank you! Weren’t my neighbors awesome? It was such a happy, happy 24 minutes! Thank you for reading and commenting! Be well. Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  16. Joann Tilney-Hughson says:

    What a WONDERFUL post, Nicole! I am so happy that it all worked out so well. They all deserved it. This has been such a crappy year and these kids have missed out on SO much. This was just such fabulous thing for them and for all of you proud parents. Such a great thing you organized for everyone.
    Audrey, congratulations! You have SO many reasons to be proud of yourself. All your hard work paid off. May your days ahead be full of joy. All best wishes. Joey

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Joey, thank you so much! It has been an awful year, and prayers that the end of year will be better than the beginning. Thank you for all your wishes. Much love to you. Be well. Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  17. Nancy says:

    Nicole, what a wonderful event! Thank you for sharing. And thank you for taking the initiative to organize such a wonderful happening. I felt your uncertainty that things might not work out and the thrill of a group of people coming together to honor those high school seniors. As a teacher, I realize how hard it has been this year for the graduating class to miss out on all the events they looked forward to during their final year of high school. Such a wonderful way to let them all know how proud everyone is for them!

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Nancy, thank you so much, and A BIG THANK YOU to you as a teacher. It can’t be easy for you as a teacher with distance learning. Hats off to you for all you and the other teachers out there do! Be well! Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  18. Kathy L Marx says:

    Wow, that was just wonderful! Congratulations to your daughter and her senior classmates. Not the memories one expects are maybe the best!

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Kathy, isn’t that the truth? It was so thrilling. I wish you could’ve seen the little kids cheering – they were so excited! So sweet seeing their little faces. Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  19. April says:

    Oh my… goosebumps and tears at the same time LOL! Yes, we’ve had similar events in our community in small town Michigan – so moving. It does a lot to restore my faith in humanity. <3

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi April, that is so wonderful your community is doing things like that, too. It is such a great way to realize we are not “alone” even when we are literally alone. Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  20. Beverly Battaglia says:

    You did good, Nicole! I cried too. Great blog and wonderful comments made. I wish I could have been there for Audrey! With love, Mother and Nana

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Mama, we wish you could’ve been here, too. You would have loved every minute! Love you. ~Nicole

  21. Donna says:

    The American spirit lives on..how wonderful…wow

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Donna, Yes, it was very alive and well that sunny day! I am so glad that it brought a much-needed boost to our spirits. Thank you for reading and commenting. Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  22. sally cornell says:

    What a great idea. I’m so glad you went through with it and the first responders helped out too. Peace and Blessings to you and the graduating seniors

  23. Congratulations to Audry and all the 2020 seniors. They will NEVER forget what a special celebration you and your neighbors gave them. Tears of joy here while reading this post. I can only imagine the emotions everyone was feeling that day.
    Onwards and upwards!
    Deb

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Deb, Thank you so very much! Even I was surprised – I really did not know how many would come outside curbside or decorate, and to have the police and the fire department honor us with such a presence was something I will never forget. It was so amazing. Hope all is well with you. The garden and flowers this year here are looking great. I bet yours is doing great, too. Hope you are having a nice summer! Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  24. Maureen says:

    How Beautiful. What a wonderful memory for everyone, it does truly take a village.

    Many blessings.

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Maureen, thank you. It was a great day, and I will never forget the smiling faces. It made us all so happy, and I hope it really made the graduates feel special. Thank you for reading and commenting! Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  25. Mary Ellen Eckels #7910 says:

    What a wonderful event and support. Congratulations to your graduate! We’ve had similar processions here in central CT. As challenging as this has been – what beautiful silver linings have emerged from it all. This is my first time posting and I just wanted to say how much I enjoy your blog and the whole MaryJane’s Farmgirl sisterhood. Made my first sourdough bread on Tuesday this week and received my Farmgirl Sisterhood Merit Badge Planner. Just wondering if there are any Farmgirl chapters in CT? Thanks for all you do for us all.

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Mary Ellen and welcome! Thank you for such a nice comment! It means a lot. I am so glad you enjoy the blog. Isn’t the wonderful world of MaryJane fun? I do not know of other farmgirl chapters (there may be others). I have one that I have wanted to get started back up. We were very active for a long time, then we all got busy and a lot of members moved. However, I will send you an email and we can chat privately. Now that my daughter has graduated, I want to start up my chapter again, as soon as Covid distancing allows. Thank you again for reading and commenting, and congratulations on your first sourdough bread! Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  26. Pamela Frey says:

    So Awesome! Thank you for taking the time to organize such a wonderful tribute to the
    Graduating Kids of 2020. It only takes ONE PERSON to make a difference. Your story and other stories like it give us HOPE and JOY during this Covid Pandemic. Congratulations to your daughter from Kansas.

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Pamela, Thank you so very, very much! Your comment means a lot. Stay safe and have a good summer! Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

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