Starting Kindergarten During A Pandemic

As I sit here and write this piece, I am filled with so many emotions.

On any given moment, I go from being excited to sad, to frustrated to joyful.

Let me explain.

You see my second child is going to kindergarten this year. I remember when my son went through this just two years ago, I felt a wide range of emotions, but for different reasons.

I was the mom who was a hot mess when he graduated from preschool. Being the nostalgic, sentimental person that I am, that rite of passage was difficult for me. It was hard to admit that my little boy was growing up. Here I am, going through this a second time, and I feel different. I feel cheated.

I grieve what this was supposed to look like.

Due to COVID-19, my daughter did nor have her preschool graduation. She did not walk across the stage with her class and flash her beautiful smile as her principal handed her a preschool diploma.

She didn’t get to have that moment that was all about her.

We did have a little ceremony at home, but it wasn’t the same. Now, as school starts, things are different again.

  • We do not get to walk her into school on her first day.
  • We do not get hug her outside of her classroom as she walks into her room.
  • We do not get to have the ice cream social before school starts where she gets to meet her teacher and see her classroom before the first day.

All of that is no longer.

Now, we  have to rely on her older brother to ensure she gets where she needs to go. 

As I think about this, I ask myself why do I feel the way I feel?

Is it because she is somehow being short-changed? Are she and all new kindergartners somehow getting the short end of the stick? Or is this all for me? Do I need this for her?

Sometimes I worry that years down the road she will say, “remember when I didn’t get to do (insert experience)?” I mean, after all, she is a middle child.

Does it make me feel better to somehow be a little bit in control? Does it make me feel better to know what she is walking into? I mean, if I think about it, she does not know any different. I feel with the end of preschool and having that ceremonial send off to kindergarten, it gives closure to the toddler and preschool years. She never had that — and so maybe it doesn’t feel real and she feels like she is being thrown into the unknown. 

Sometimes as I think about this, it feels silly.

It feels almost ridiculous at times because in the grand scheme of things this is very minor — but it is still hard.

If I had to name this feeling — it is grief.

I am grieving what normal should be. I am grieving the experiences that she is missing. I think part of what I am grieving is that this is one step of her gaining independence and not needing me as much. I know that is what we want for our kids and that is the ultimate goal.

It is just hard to wrap my head and heart around that. 

Regardless of how it feels, I am going to do a few things to make this transition go smoothly.

  • I am going to be positive.
  • I am going to remind my daughter of all of the fun things she will do in kindergarten, even though things will look different.
  • I am going to remind her of all of the friends she will gain and fun things she will learn.
  • I will remind her that she will love kindergarten.

I will smile and put on a brave face, even though I am nervous about what is going to happen and how this school year may look. I will put on my brave and happy face even though it’s hard for me to let her take this step. I am going to remind myself that kids are resilient even though we as adults have a hard time with change.

And lastly, as she hops out of the van on the first day, and every day, I will hug her and send her on her way with these words, “be brave, be kind, make good choices, and have fun.” I will share these words with her to remind her that she is in fact brave.

Maybe by saying that enough, her mama will realize that she is in fact brave, too.


Brenda is an Iowa native who has lived in the Iowa City area since 2005. She is married to her love, Robert, since 2012. Brenda is an elementary teacher by trade. She spent almost nine years as a stay at home parent but is now back in the classroom spending time with her school kids and being a mom to her own kids. She is the mom of three; Gabe (April, 2013) Maggie (April, 2015), and Julianna (September, 2017). Brenda enjoys being active by running and working out. She also enjoys trying new recipes, volunteering, playing board and card games, and being involved in church. Brenda is an elementary teacher and loves cheering on the Cubs, UNI Panthers, and the Iowa Hawkeyes. It is a busy but beautiful life!


  1. How wonderful that you are able to be a stay at home mom. I was for most of our children’s Pre-school and school years. I was lucky in that being a stay at home mom was more usual than not so I had lots of other moms around for coffee and conversations and trade-off baby sitting from time to time. Blessings.


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