Editor's note: Jessica Ann is a restaurant owner who's blogging about trying to rebound from the coronavirus pandemic at My Rebound by FOX 17. She founded The Candied Yam, a Grand Rapids restaurant serving Southern cuisine, in 2016. She is married with a daughter who just graduated high school and an adult son. She lives in Kentwood.
My daughter Caitlyn did it. She made it. The feeling of completion. My high school senior graduated.
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Boy did I start to plan the celebration months before it actually happened. Where, when and even how do you unfold the day that you’ve prided yourself on celebrating in your mind for at least four years? We already knew that the kids growing up in this generation have so much opportunity but yet so many challenges and distractions. Now, Covid has robbed them just like it’s robbed everyone else. No pomp. No circumstance. Just mask up and wash your hand. I could not, in good faith even send out hard copy invitations as we weren’t sure if the state was going to be ‘open’. Besides, what was the governor’s next announcement going to be or what were the ‘new rules’ for the day going to be. As a family, we posted the invite on Facebook. Who saw it - saw it. If they could come, great. If not, no worries. My hubby and I had already celebrated our graduate by placing a billboard on 131 congratulating our princess. Yep. We wanted her to know just how proud of her we were - so we told the entire world via a billboard. Our daughter told us that she wanted a ‘safe party style open house’ and would be pleased with whomever came. Her father, Craig and I, admittedly did not want the responsibility of managing everyone’s fears. Instead of the typical: ‘you are welcome’ to come and celebrate at an open house from 4-7, it was more of an invitation like:
* IF YOU ARE SICK, FEVERISH, NOT FEELING WELL OR SCARED OR UNCOMFORTABLE TO BE IN PUBLIC - THIS IS NOT THE EVENT FOR YOU TO ATTEND.
* Wear a mask. Wash or sanitizer your hands.
* ALL meals will be individually boxed in our licensed kitchen.
* Find socially spaced seating.
* Feel free to take your meal home to enjoy in the comforts of your own home. Besides, we all will be wearing mask so we won’t hear what you said because your mouth will be covered. We won’t even see REAL facial expressions anyways. The thrill is gone baby.
Caitlyn Ana-Lauren Tyson graduated from Caledonia High School - class of 2020. She is headed to attend college at Aquinas College in about two weeks - we think. At least she is enrolled and planning to attend Aquinas. Who knows if the school will open its doors or if she will have to start school on line? I am just proud of her and how well she has/is handling all the changes day by day and week to week. My baby girl is so mature and has grown up and is going from being my lil angel to being a ‘Saint’. Caity wants to be a school teacher. She will study early childhood education and minor in Spanish - although I believe she told me last night that she might change her minor!?! She will make a fantastic teacher. No doubt. Even though Caity was the one who suggested that I start my latest business venture, Pink Lounge Dry Salt Therapy, she really wants no parts of owning and running any of my businesses. I mean she shows up to help or assist, but taking ownership - nope. No interest. None at all. I do wish she would, but that does not make me sad and I won’t force it on her. Do I wish she or her brother were more interested? Of course! Who doesn’t want to see their hard work flourish or hard lived dream prosper? I most definitely do, but this dream was mine - not theirs. As parents we have to not be so selfish as to push our dreams on our kids. Trust me, I’ve seen some of those dreams turn to nightmare. Yikes!
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I feel blessed by the many who have supported Caity these past 18 years. It really does take a village. I am grateful. All we can do is raise our children to love God, love themselves and mankind, be responsible, get a good education and OR a job, live their own dreams and let go of the purse strings! It’s clear that I am not ready to let her go, but it’s time for me to cheer Caity on from the sideline now! I’m a proud momma indeed.