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Dear Preschooler,

This was your year. 

It wasn’t your senior year. You aren’t missing graduation, or prom, or your last few months with your friends before leaving home for a whole new adventure.

It wasn’t your eighth grade year. You’re not missing band practice, or science class, or the rite of passage of ending middle school and moving on to the big leagues. 

RELATED: Dear Students, We Didn’t Even Get To Say Goodbye

It wasn’t even kindergarten. You weren’t sitting still with your classmates all day long, or learning how to read, or practicing simple addition. 

It was just preschool, right? 

Just preschool. 

I keep reminding myself that you have so much time. You’ll get to do all these things, God willing. But still, it was your year. Preschool is where you found your place. Preschool is where you thrived. 

For the first time, you made real friends. 

You adored your teachers. 

RELATED: Dear Teachers, Why Didn’t We Get To Say Goodbye?

You couldn’t wait to tell me what you learned. 

You loved to sing your school songs and show off your dance moves.

Your eyes lit up when I promised that school would come with just one more sleep.

You were so happy to see me at the end of the day, but you were just as excited to wave goodbye at drop-off. You were proud of your independence. And I was proud of it, too. 

But let me tell you a secret, sweet boy. 

I’ve never been prouder of anyone in my life than I am of you right now. 

My heart bursts with admiration to see you handling this new experience with all the fortitude a four-year-old can muster. You’ve been so positive, you’ve been so fun, you’ve tried so hard, and you’ve made me want to do better. To be better.

You had no idea that mid-March day would be your last day ever at the school you loved so much. 

RELATED: My 4-Year-Old Has COVID-19; Here’s What You Need To Know

I know you miss your teachers and your friends. 

I know it’s hard to be at home with me for every minute of every day. 

I know my lessons aren’t as much fun. 

I know your anxiety was already a lot to handle for a four-year-old. 

I know you’re hurting, buddy. 

It’s a unique kind of hurt, too. You’re old enough to know that everything changed in an instant. You’re old enough to feel the shock of your routine — your “normal” — being taken away from you. But you’re not old enough to understand why. Why you can’t go back. Why you can’t see your friends. Why your time in that old brick building is done.

And it’s not only preschool that’s changed for you. Everything is different. 

All the time we spent with family has been reduced to mere minutes of video chats here and there. I know you miss them so much, and you can’t wrap your mind around the reason they aren’t here with us. 

The zoos and parks are closed. We’ve stopped taking you to see new movies. We can’t even run to the store just to refill your favorite cereal. So many requests are answered with, “Not today, honey, but soon.” So far, “soon” hasn’t come.

RELATED: Dear Kids, Thank You For Being the Strong Ones

You’re not quite big enough to even ask all the questions going through your mind, let alone to grasp all the answers. You’re just trusting that I have the answers—that I’m handling it. And I’m trying my best for you. 

So while I can’t rewind this time, or even fix all your hurts, I promise to stay beside you and love you through it. 

I pray, my little love, that you’ll never wonder if you’ve done something wrong. And I hope I’m helping you to look forward. 

You’ll get to go to a brand new school next year. You’ll get to make new friends. And we’ll keep practicing those shapes and letters and numbers in the meantime. 

We’ll visit the parks and zoos as often as we can, just as soon as they reopen. We’ll spend even more time with family than we used to. We’ll never take that time for granted. 

And for now, Daddy and I are here to make big memories with you. We’ll build rivers for your dinosaurs, we’ll chase bubbles in the yard, we’ll play loads of games, and we’ll watch plenty of movies, complete with popcorn and candy picnics in the living room.

We’ll believe that things are just about to turn a corner. We’ll trust God in the same way that you trust us. 

My preschooler, I’m so proud of all you’ve accomplished. I’m so proud of all you’ve learned. I’m so proud of all your growth. I’m so proud of the way you’re overcoming these obstacles. 

Yes, this was definitely your year. But I can’t wait to see what you’ll do today, and how far you’ll go tomorrow.

Next year is yours for the taking.

So God Made a Mother book by Leslie Means

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So God Made a Mother's Story Keepsake Journal

Cassie Gottula Shaw

I'm Cassie, and I'm a writer, mama, Jesus enthusiast, cliche coffee drinker, and lover of all the stories. I believe in the power of faith and empathy, radical inclusivity, and the magic and beauty of ordinary days. I'm inspired every day by the firm belief that we owe something to each otherlove and human connection. When I'm not writing, you can find me running from dinosaurs, building castles, pursuing joy, or watching the sun rise over the fields of Nebraska (coffee in hand) where my husband and I are raising two spectacular children. For more stories, visit my Facebook page, From the House on a Hill with Cassie Gottula Shaw; Instagram, Cassie Gottula Shaw; and the blog, fromthehouseonahill.com

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