Dear, Sweetheart :: On Your First Day of {a Very Different Kind of} Big Kid School

Dear Sweetheart,

You have made it to the first day of school, big kid school! You have waited for this moment pretty much your entire life. You have heard about this idea for so long; you’ve seen students in class in the movies; you have older siblings and cousins who have donned their uniforms and backpacks and gone off to this fascinating place they call school. And, now, it’s your turn! We bought your uniforms and your school supplies, and we’ve picked out the super fun lunch box and backpack. You’ve eagerly participated in all of these things leading up to your first big day. Your excitement is sky-high, and you just can’t wait for August 10th to arrive. But, before that happens, let me clear the air.

kid running into school with backpack

No Expectations, No Problems.

You’ve never been to big kid school before. You’ve fantasized about it; you’ve imagined it during playtime; but, you’ve never actually experienced it. So, fortunately, you won’t even realize that “new guidelines” are in place that are (in some cases) starkly different than before. You have no idea that in the past, students walked to the cafeteria for lunch, but now, that service will come to you. You won’t realize that last year, students drank from the water fountains, but this year, you have your own personalized water bottle. And, it won’t even register in that naïve little mind of yours that parents used to walk in to drop their babies off instead of using a carpool line. These modifications are not “changes” for you; they will primarily become the way a big kid school operates in your mind. You don’t know any differently, and that is a refreshing comfort for Mommy.

Now, let’s pick out a mask.

Like wearing a uniform for the first time, you will also have to wear a mask on a daily basis, for the first time. This is part of your new and exciting big kid uniform – an accessory if you will. All of your new friends and even your new teachers will also be wearing their masks. It’s a fun and exciting new piece that will not only protect you but will protect all of your new friends from spreading germs. We can pick out any fun color and design your little heart desires so that your personality will shine even brighter across your adorable little face!

Now, Mommy might get a little sad.

None of these adjustments are new in your eyes, but to Mommy, they are completely different and unprecedented. So, forgive me if I shed a tear or two. I’m not sad because of new safety regulations, and I’m not sad because I’m concerned for you in this new age. I’m sad simply because I won’t get to walk in and watch you see everything for the first time – only from the driver’s seat. I’m sad because I can’t take the first day of school picture with you sitting in your very own desk like I did with your siblings and like my mother did for me. I’m sad because I won’t necessarily get to properly introduce myself and have a first impression conversation with your teacher – only from the driver’s seat while other cars anxiously wait behind me. I’m sad because it is a little different than what I was expecting. However, I know your resiliency and your excitement for this big new step will put a smile on my face despite my holding on to what I thought would be. Don’t you worry though, Mommy will get creative in our picture-taking firsts for this year.

everything will be okay

This will be a school year unlike any other. This challenge, though, seems to be more of a challenge for me than for you. However, I will be strong and happy for you, and I will embrace these changes for you so that in your mind everything is “normal” and okay. I know that if Mommy is excited, you will be excited. If Mommy has fun wearing the mask, you will too. If Mommy greets the carpool line teachers enthusiastically, you just might too. And maybe, just maybe, if your resiliency gets you through this brand new, and slightly, intimidating adventure, Mommy will get through it just fine too. So, mask up, and let’s go to school!

Jennifer Gonzales
Wife to my high school sweetheart, Ross, and mother to 4 children: Trip, Conner, McKenzie, and Piper, I am a born and raised Southern Louisiana Lady. I am a graduate of Mt. Carmel Academy, received my Bachelor’s in English with a concentration in Secondary Ed. from LSU followed by my Master’s of Education from UNO, and for the past 11 years, I have been outwitting high school boys as an English teacher at Holy Cross School. When I’m not grading papers, driving to baseball practices, or making grocery runs, I can be found cheering on my LSU Tigers, cutting up with my girlfriends, and crafting (I love a good project!). I’m all about sippin’ some wine during the sunset while the kiddos play in the yard and the hubby works the grill. I’m living my best mommy life these days and am always happy to share the journey with others!

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