To My Rising Kindergartner: I’m Sorry, It’s Not Supposed to be Like This


To My Oldest Little Love,

Since you were born and made us parents, your daddy and I have thought of kindergarten as being a million years away. But somehow, five-and-a-half years have passed – rather quickly – and it’s nearly time for you to graduate from preschool and head off to big-girl school.

Crazy, right?

The thing is, I always pictured this time as nothing but exciting for you. I daydreamed about taking you back-to-school shopping like I did as a girl. I pictured your face the first time we’d walk into the school for a tour and to meet your teacher. I wondered if, on the first day, you’d want me to walk inside with you, or if you’d insist on doing it alone.

I guess some of those things are still accurate. You are excited. We’ve looked online at some clothes you want for school. We’ve talked about how it’s okay that you’ll be away from your little sisters, who will still be in preschool down the road. I’ve chuckled as you’ve told them, “It’s fine, I’ll be right down the street” and explained you’ll still see them after school.

But, my little love, what we didn’t know was that your daddy and I would be faced with so many options as you started school. You know about “the sickness,” as you and your sisters call it. Well, because of that sickness, our country is still somewhat in limbo as it relates to education.

Before March of this year, you were going to the local public elementary school in our neighborhood. Plain and simple.

Now, your daddy and I have found ourselves faced with other options. Should we consider private school? Should you attend school virtually? Should we homeschool?

The last two options are really difficult for us, as we both work full-time and I don’t know how on Earth I would be a successful kindergarten teacher.

And if you do attend in-person school like we planned, I’m afraid it will look a lot different than we always pictured it. You might have to wear a mask sometimes, to protect yourself and those around you. I know you don’t like wearing them, my dear, but you might not have a choice. Also, you may not have lunch in a lunchroom; instead, you might have to eat at your desk in your classroom. Recess may look different. Field trips probably won’t happen. And so many other things that we just don’t know quite yet. You’ve asked me so many questions about what kindergarten will be like, and sadly, I just don’t have the answers. 

On one hand, maybe it’s a good thing since this will be your first year of big-girl school and you don’t have anything to compare it to. But alternatively, my heart breaks for you because I know nothing about it is going to be normal.

So, as we head into your final weeks as a preschooler, I want us to celebrate. Let’s enjoy looking back on the last five years and talking about how much you’ve grown and how much you’ve learned. We will pick out your school supplies online and I’ll let you choose some new clothes and shoes. We can find kid-sized masks in your favorite color, purple.  We’ll also spend some time together, just me, you, and your daddy (your little sisters won’t mind too much). And on Friday when I watch you get your preschool diploma (virtually), just know I’ll be so proud of the little girl you’ve become, and I’ll be saying a prayer for a safe, healthy and happy next chapter . . . whatever that may look like. 

I love you, Baby Girl. More than you’ll ever know. 



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A North Carolina native, Jennifer has called Colorado Springs, CO, Lynchburg, VA, New Orleans, LA, and Charleston, SC home since graduating from Elon University in 2003. She has spent time as a journalist, event planner, and sports information director. Now, the Hoover resident is a full-time sales & marketing professional for an outdoor furniture company and an independent rep for Zyia Active. Of all the hats Jennifer wears, her most important roles are as a wife, mother, daughter, and sister. She has been married to her husband Mike since 2011, and together they have three daughters ages 5, 4 and 2, and a sweet eight-year-old beagle, Cooper.