For my Kindergartens graduating today,
There weren’t year book signing parties.
There weren’t long lines of your friends in little caps and gowns whispering and giggling.
There weren’t full auditoriums of parents clapping for you.
There weren’t hugs good bye from your favorite teachers and lunch room ladies and librarians or PE teachers or art teachers.
There weren’t last art projects.
Or last lunches together.
There weren’t trips to the playground with your friends after to celebrate.
Or pool parties with your friends because it’s officially summer as of NOW.
Or a Toys R Us trip for a reward because that was another random piece of the childhood I imagined for you that doesn’t fit in this world anymore. I always wanted to go when I was little even if we couldn’t.
Your graduation looked so different. Than I imagined.
It was still full of smiling teachers who showed up to cheer you on from your car.
You still made friends this year.
& art projects.
You still had firsts.
You still learned.
To spell your name and to write it.
To count to 100.
Facts about Polar Bears.
How to add and subtract.
How to read.
You learned so much.
You achieved so much.
I learned things, too.
Like Polar Bears have webbed feet and I don’t know what noises turtles make or why letters sound the way they do.
One of the most important things I learned is to stop imagining how life could be or how I think it should be for you based on how my childhood went or what I imagined yours could be - because the world has a way of making those plans literally impossible (& God just laughs).
After the pandemic started I learned to try even harder to take things a day at a time.
To try to do our best - even if that’s just making it through the day without crying or feeling anxious.
To let you be little for even longer.
To keep you from worrying about or really even noticing the pandemic too much.
To look around at our new normal and try to see the positives more than I see the struggles just in case we never have our "old normal" again.
One day you’ll tell your kids that you started school the same year The Pandemic started - I have no idea what the next years of school will look like for you now.
But I hope that you also tell them about how your teachers made you laugh during video chats.
How you got to go outside and find rocks for class assignments.
How you painted your faces for fun instead of the paper.
How you had fun at home and didn’t know the world was imploding around you.
I love you both.
I’m so proud of you.
So is your dad.
& I am proud of the rest of the class of 2020, no matter if it’s Pre-K or High School or college - graduation is a big deal.
You are all big deals.
[If your 2020 graduate was unable to participate in a graduation commencement due to COVID-19 and you are local I would be happy to shoot cap and gown photos for you (or prom dress photos). No charge - tips only. Gowns can be ordered online. They'll be 10 minute, socially distant sessions in my yard (we have a creek and a barn) and I'll guarantee a minimum of 10 photos. If you aren't local? Snap some and send them to me via email at firstname.lastname@example.org to edit for you - no charge & tips only, again. I will be offering both of these things until the end of July]