So God Made a Mother Collection ➔

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.

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

I’m Giving My Kids the Summer Fun I Never Had

In: Kids, Motherhood
Two boys playing in the waves on the beach, color photo

I love that my kids hate school. Stay with me here . . . Yes, I absolutely love that year after year, my boys cannot wait to ditch school for summer break, that they endlessly bemoan the academic year and cannot wait for June.  I love it because it is normal. I love it because it means they enjoy being at home and implies that I make summers fun for them, or, rather, allow summers to be fun for them. I love it because I always dreaded summers when I was growing up. Dreaded them with knots in my stomach...

Keep Reading

Mothering One Day at a Time

In: Kids, Motherhood
Mother holding daughter in matching shirts, color photo

As I sat with my growing belly, full of anticipation for the arrival of my firstborn, the possibilities were endless for this little girl. Maybe she would lean toward the arts and be a dancer, writer, or musician. Or maybe she would take after her great-granddad and become a scientist. And maybe one day she would be a mother too. Dreaming about the future was fun and exciting. But then she surprised us with an at-birth Down syndrome diagnosis. Special needs were never included in my dreaming sessions.    All of the sudden, my hopes and dreams for this new...

Keep Reading

Fall into the Arms of Jesus, Little One

In: Faith, Kids, Motherhood
Child walking

I have three younger brothers, so I know how crazy and wild boys can be. Lots of falls, cuts, scrapes, bruises, broken bones, and even a couple of head stitches. My husband has two younger brothers. He’d always tell how they used to jump from the banister down two floors onto the glass coffee table. Why anyone would do that, I have no idea. Pure madness and chaos.  Right now, I have a little baby boy who’s only seven months, but I know he will probably be just as wild as his uncles and dad. But that doesn’t mean I’m...

Keep Reading

I Know It’s Just Summer Camp but I Miss You Already

In: Kids, Motherhood, Tween
Kids by campfire

You would’ve thought I was sending you off to college. The way I triple-checked to make sure you had everything you needed and reminded you about the little things like brushing your teeth and drinking plenty of water about a thousand times. You would’ve thought I was sending you to live on your own. The way I hugged you tight and had to fight back some tears. The way you paused before leaving just to smile at me. The way I kept thinking about that boyish grin all the way home. The way I kept thinking about how you’re looking...

Keep Reading

I Want My Boys To Become Men of Character

In: Kids, Motherhood
Young boys with arms around each other by water

I’m a single mama of two young boys. As a woman raising young boys, I’ve thought a lot about how I want them to act—as kids and adults. We joke around that I’m not raising farm animals, and we don’t live in a frat house. I’m trying to plant seeds now so they grow into men with positive character traits. They burp, fart, spray toothpaste on the sink and somehow miss the toilet often, but I’m trying to teach them life lessons about what it means to be great men and gentlemen.  Interactions with other men provide opportunities for us...

Keep Reading

Until There Was a Boy

In: Kids, Motherhood
Mother looking at son and smiling, color photo

I never believed in love at first sight . . . until there was a boy.  A boy who made my heart whole the first time he looked at me.  A boy who held my hand and touched my soul at the same time.  A boy who challenged me and helped me grow. A boy who showed me that, even on the worst days, the world is still a beautiful place.  RELATED: I Met a Boy and He Changed Everything A boy who reminded me how to laugh until tears ran down my cheeks. A boy who tested my patience...

Keep Reading

A Mother’s Heart Remembers These Sweet Moments Forever

In: Kids, Motherhood
Mother and baby laughing

Motherhood gives you all the feelings. It’s hard not to be utterly thankful for and grieve the little things of your last baby, trying to take in all of the firsts and lasts. Every bin of clothes and baby gear packed up produces a tiny crack in a mother’s heart, breaking just a little bit more each time she says goodbye. It’s not that she needs those baby clothes, but it’s the memories each outfit held that are difficult for her to let go of. She does not want to forget those beautiful moments. When she looks at that bin...

Keep Reading

I Want You To Miss Your Childhood One Day Too

In: Kids, Living
Kids jumping off dock into lake

What I miss the most about childhood is owning my whole heart. Before I gave pieces of it away to others who weren’t always careful with it. And some, who never gave the pieces back. I miss my knowing. My absolute faith that my mother’s arms could fix just about everything and what her arms couldn’t, her cookies could. When my biggest grievance was not getting my way. I miss feeling whole, unblemished. Before words cut me. Before people had taken up space in my mind, created permanent movies that were ugly and still play on repeat at times. Before...

Keep Reading

No One Told Me It Was the Last Time You’d Be This Little

In: Kids, Motherhood
Mother and young son playing in ocean

No one told me it would be the last time I rocked you to sleep. A cry in the night, the haze of a dimly lit room, our rocking chair worn brown. We were the only ones in a little world. No one told me it would be the last time I carried you on my hip. The way my body shifted—you changed my center of gravity. Your little arm hooked in mine, a gentle sway I never noticed I was doing. No one told me it would be the last time I pushed you on the bucket swing. Your...

Keep Reading

The Only Way to Freeze Time Is to Take the Picture—So I’ll Take as Many as I Can

In: Kids, Motherhood
Two kids sitting in wagon, color photo

Life ebbs and flows. Seasons come and go. One of the reasons I take so many photos is because they are the only way to make time stand still. They provide a nostalgia that can’t compete with anything else. They help us remember the exact moment captured and show us how fast time is fleeting. It doesn’t matter if their texture is glossy or matte. It doesn’t matter if they are in a frame or on a screen. It doesn’t matter if they are professional or if someone’s thumbprint is in the upper corner. All that matters is the moment...

Keep Reading

5 Secrets to the

BEST Summer Ever!

FREE EMAIL BONUS

Creating simple summer memories

with your kids that will  last a lifetime