Jackpots come in all shapes and sizes...
Today, is my middle sons last day of High School. He should have walked across a stage on Tuesday in his cap and gown, academic ropes of achievement and all his glory of finishing something he started 13 years ago. Instead, he will be "Virtually" graduating on next Tuesday. We will sit in our living room and watch his avatar float by with a 10 second clip about him, and that's it. No moving your tassel to signify completion, no throwing of your cap with all our your friends, no celebrating , hugging and crying with those that you completed this milestone with.
As a mom of 3 sons, one having graduated in 2017 and our last will graduate next year, I am mad. I could lie and say "oh it's ok, I understand" but that's not true. When our oldest walked across that stage in 2017 it meant something. It was huge not only for him but for us as his parents. It closed one door to his life , that hadn't always been easy, sometimes we thought we would never make it, but when he did it was a time to be celebrated.
Similar to a jackpot handpay, when the machine shuts down, the "handpay" music starts blaring out of your slot and the attendants come collect your identification info to pay you. Shortly later, they return with your money in hand and count it out to you, and in return you tip them. Why does all this happen - because the amount of $1200 or higher in "casino terms" is a jackpot that is to be celebrated. It comes with the extra bells and whistles. It's special. Well, I've tasted that "jackpot" for my older son and I want it for my middle son as well. He is special and I want all the bells and whistles for him . My heart hurts for him as a mom, as well as for myself trying to grieve the loss of something we anticipated for 13 years.
However, as I wipe away tears, I know fully in my heart that the Jackpot lies within. My son is no less because he didn't cross a stage. In fact, he has a life experience that will live with him forever. None of us will ever forget how Covid - 19 has affected our lives, all in very different ways. And, when I dig very deep and set the selfish "my poor son" attitude aside, I am grateful and beyond blessed that my family is healthy , safe and has not been affected by Covid -19 like many have. There is no comparison to crossing a stage for graduation and losing a loved one.
My son wrote in his senior paper " So, whether or not I get to walk across that stage or I graduate virtually, I , Austin Aragon, completed high school and so did all my friends and fellow seniors. We cannot let this change ever define us, no one will be able to say that they graduated through a global pandemic. The class of 2020 is truly ONE OF A KIND " . I couldn't agree with him more. I love how he's handled the disappointments. No senior ball, no senior grad night, no senior trip or any other senior event. But he cherishes the memories and the 4 years of events he did have in high school. I think we can all walk away learning something from these kiddos. Cherish the small things. Or, in a gambling world , appreciate the small wins, enjoy the ride , the ups and the downs and don't focus on the "handpay" that may never come. If so, you'll miss all the fun in the middle.