I’m at the car pick-up line at my daughter’s elementary school. Except now it’s the pick-up line where my daughter’s teachers are handing me all of her belongings and artwork and projects stuffed in plastic bags.
“Mommy, why are you crying?” she asks from behind me.
Oh, honey. Let me tell you why . . .
I’m crying because it’s been 67 days since you’ve seen your teachers at school. Now they’re waving to you while wearing masks as we drive through the parking lot and return overdue library books and wave back at them.
I’m crying because this isn’t the way the school year is supposed to end.
I’m crying because of missed preschool graduations and canceled Field Days; because of choir concerts and art shows that will never happen again in this season of your life.
I’m crying because there are no classroom end-of-the-year parties; no band or orchestra practices or recitals; no birthday parties or sleepovers or movie nights with friends.
I’m crying because you never really got a chance to say goodbye.
I’m crying because we’re on the cusp of summer break, and I don’t even know if we’ll be able to enjoy trips to the zoo or to our favorite playgrounds or whether it’ll be safe to take a weekend getaway.
I’m crying because a global pandemic robbed you of this season of childhood; it snatched away the end of your school year.
I’m crying because I’m tired, and I’m worried about what the future holds.
Most of all, I’m crying because I’m your mom. And I’m sad for all the things and moments and elementary school experiences you’ve missed out on.
I’m crying because I care.