Dear fifth-grader,

I’m just so sorry. I know you were excited for that end-of-the-year party with your friends. I know you’ve been waiting to walk those halls and “rule the school” with your classmates during that fifth-grade graduation walk.  

I know you’re sad to miss your final field trip.

I know you’re bummed to miss that class party with cupcakes and pop.

Your mom is sad, too.

What if I don’t get to have one more lunch with you in your classroom?

What if this was your last chance to be a kid?

Dear eighth-grader,

I’m just so sorry. I know you were excited for your last middle school dance. It isn’t fair that your play was canceled and you won’t get to give the speech you’ve been working on for weeks.

You’ll miss those track meets and band concerts. You’ll miss the time spent with best friends. 

Your mom is sad, too.

My heart wasn’t ready for you to be in high school already, but that time may already be here.

Dear high school senior,

I’m just so sorry.

You’ve worked hard for 13 years and this was supposed to be your time to shine.

You’ve been waiting for these moments for what feels like all your life. 

That class presentation.

That final field day.

That speech.

Your last prom.

Your big presentation.

The last chance to qualify for the state tournament, to ride that yellow school bus with your teammates.

Your graduation walk.

Honestly? Your mom is crushed. We’ve been waiting, too. And if your dad and I don’t get to see you throw that cap and gown, know that our hearts will be hurting for you.

My heart isn’t ready to say goodbye to the last 13 years. It just isn’t ready.

Dear college senior,

I know you’re bummed.

You have worked so hard for so many years, and to miss these last few weeks will be tough. 

Your internship is canceled.

Your formal is over.

No more sorority dinners. No more late-night classes or walks on campus.

I know you weren’t prepared to be an adult already, to turn the page on your youth and step into life as a full-fledged grown-up. Your mom wasn’t ready for it either.

It isn’t fair. Our hearts ache for you.

But I want you to know this: you will still find joy.

You will celebrate and love and laugh and look back on this time with great memories you’re not even aware you’re making. A deeper understanding of the bonds between family. A fuller appreciation of the simple things, the beautiful things. 

It’s not easy now (life, you’ll soon learn, never is) but there’s a story in this, too. We’re all learning how to walk through these challenging times together. And in the end, you’ll be stronger for it (and maybe, you’ll even be thankful for it, too). 

So shine on, fifth-grader.

Shine on, eighth-grader.

Shine on, high school senior.

Shine on, college graduate.

We’re rooting for you, whether you get one final walk down that hall, or on that stage, or if we’ll just have to imagine it in our hearts. 

And above all, we’re proud of you. Now and always.


Leslie Means

Leslie is the founder and owner of Her View From She is also a former news anchor, published children’s book author, weekly columnist, and has several published short stories as well. She is married to a very patient man. Together they have three fantastic kids.  When she’s not sharing too much personal information online and in the newspaper – you’ll find Leslie somewhere in Nebraska hanging out with family and friends. There’s also a 75% chance at any given time, you’ll spot her in the aisles at Target.