School is canceled – yay! School is canceled – boo!

Dealing with disappointment in the time of COVID-19

You’d think an unexpected break from school would be met with at least a little joy. In this case, given the circumstances, you’d be wrong. For every quiz now getting the ax, there’s a fun thing thats going away.

Everyone has a virus story now. For me it goes like this:

  • Walt Disney World: Closed.
  • Bruins games/NHL: Shut down.
  • Bela Fleck and the Flecktones concert at the Capital Center next Thursday: Canceled.

If they outlaw pie, we’ll be in a full-on Billmageddon.

For my daughter, though, it’s not such a light matter. I started to get the news on Friday via texts from my high school senior:

“All States is canceled.”

She’s a double bass player who made the New Hampshire Music Educators Association All State Large Group Orchestra. The festival this year was to be held April 2-4 in Manchester, where she would’ve been recognized as a four-year participant.

An hour later: “The play is canceled.”

She had a role in her schools production of “Love Sick,” which opened (and closed) last Thursday.


‘Love Sick.’ (Photo by Kerry Query)

I may have whined just a little about rushing home from work and running right out to the school, but I’m very happy we went to opening night. The kids, led by an amazing team of teachers and advisers, worked very hard to prepare, but the dominos were falling quickly now.

“No concerts. Just got word from the superintendent.”

Right about now I can imagine readers may be thinking, “busy kid.” And you’d be right. But it all stopped rather suddenly – as in many schools around the state – mid-day on Friday. I knew her mother and I were going to go to her final concerts this year, but we anticipated they would be later this spring. This became another ‘last’ that passed by a bit sooner than we anticipated.

Then at about 3:10 p.m. on Friday:

“No school for two weeks.”

This has now changed, of course, but the initial call was a little jarring. We weren’t overlooking what’s been going on in the world, but in the span of an afternoon, everything suddenly got very personal and local. It also meant no performances by the improv troupe she’s in – which turned out to be the biggest disappointment.

There are those who understand, however. Laura Benanti is one of them. As a Broadway performer, she spent plenty of time in high school productions, so she knows the dedication and commitment goes into putting on a musical or play. The Tony winning actress Tweeted an invitation for young performers stung by cancellations to upload their performances so she (and everyone else) can be their audience.

My own kid is scheduled to play in the pit orchestra for her school’s performance of “Pippin” in a few weeks. Who knows if it’ll actually happen? Until then, I think I know what I’ll have her do this afternoon.

Bill Burke is the Dad on Board columnist for Parenting NH and the Managing Editor of Custom Publications for McLean Communications.

Categories: Dad on Bored