A Letter to my Oldest Starting Kindergarten During Covid-19

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READING TIME: 4 min.
Photo from Unsplash

Dearest boy,

As I write this, you are napping with your younger brother, something I had hoped you would’ve grown out of by this point into summer but here we are. You don’t quite know the severity of coronavirus, other than a lot of fun places are closed, people are getting really sick, and we have all been at home a lot more than usual these last several months. You do know that Kindergarten starts in just a few weeks and, oh my word, it’s half of what you talk about. You are so excited to come to school with Mommy.

To be honest, by the time this post is published, news about schools reopening will probably have changed. It’ll change like it has changed many times over the past month and it’ll probably change many more times before the official first day of school actually happens. Then, lots will change again and again as the school year progresses.

I’ve envisioned your first day of Kindergarten dozens of times throughout your 5 years of life. I’ve pictured taking you “back to school” shopping with me. I wouldn’t just be buying pencils and highlighters to fill my classroom this time. This year, we would also be shopping for your school supplies, too. I’ve imagined getting you a haircut and a totally Pinterest worthy “first day of Kindergarten” shirt or letter board for front porch photos for the big day. I’ve over thought about what cheesy traditions we’d start now that we as a family would be entering the school years. Oh the joy I always felt when I imagined my biggest boy going to “big” school with me. And my heart would always beam with pride at all you’ve overcome in your short little life to prepare you for this next stage. You are so ready. And your time has finally come!

I have to be honest, I’m a little bit sad now that it’s actually here. Not just for the obvious reasons of feeling that time has gone by too fast, but because my heart doesn’t quite feel the excitement that I thought it would all those years of picturing this season. Along with trips for new shoes, we are facing the reality that you may be spending weeks at a time of your first year of school at home due to outbreaks. Your daddy and I haven’t just had the conversations of figuring out after school care, we’ve discussed what we would have to do if both of us were asked to work in person while schools remained closed to students for weeks at a time. I’ve had to accept the possibility that watching you walk into your new classroom on Meet The Teacher Night may not happen or that you’ll start your Kindergarten year in front on a laptop instead of in front of a live teacher. 

And then I think, “Are you really ready?” What will you even be going into with all the new social distancing and masks at school? And shutdowns. Are you ready for the back and forth of school in the building with spontaneous shutdowns intermixed? Would you transition well to seeing your teacher and friends solely on a computer screen? Transitions aren’t really a strength that 5-year-olds come with. Would all that instability be too much to bear? And what about all the social-emotional learning that is so crucial for the primary years? Are we making the right decision here? Do we really have any other options?

I don’t have all the answers and I’m sure there are more questions I haven’t even thought to ask about what this next year will look like for all of us. But I do know one thing for certain. You and I? We’ll be okay. We know that our faith is set on something higher and that we were made for such a time as this. Whatever life throws at us, we will take it and we will find joy. We will grow in ways we never thought we could. We will take things day by day and choose to not be weighed down by what we do not know and what we cannot control. And the best part of all this is that whatever happens, you and I will get to navigate this together.

I wish you the very best this year, little man. May you grow and learn in ways that surprise us all. You are brave. You are strong. You are kind. And God loves you.

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