My husband and I recently sat through our twins’ kindergarten orientation. Like many gatherings these days, it was conducted over a Zoom call. There were no tours of the school or handshakes with their teachers. Our twins were unable to meet their new classmates or play on their new playground. Instead, we stared into the screen in disbelief that this was how their elementary school experience was starting.
I’ve been grieving the fact that my children’s kindergarten experience may look different than I’d envisioned. Will they take the bus? Will they have to wear masks? Will they be able to eat lunch in the cafeteria or play with other kids on the playground. Will they have the chance to go to music, art, and phys ed classes? Will it be frightening to meet their new teacher, masked and unable to offer a reassuring smile?
How long will this go on for? I think the vast unknown of this entire situation is the hardest thing. There’s no end date in sight, which has everyone unnerved.
Unique to my twins is the anxiety over separating them. They will be facing this strange new experience apart, in different classrooms for the first time. Their dad is a teacher at their preschool. Kindergarten marks their time at school without a parent at arm’s length.
The silver lining of COVID has been the extra time home with our twins. They continue to surprise me! While some parents may hold their kids back due to the pandemic, their dad and I know they’re ready for a new challenge. They’ve been working on their reading and math with us every day, and my confidence is growing in their abilities. Their social skills might be on pause while quarantined at home, but I know they will bounce back.
So as I write this, I think the person who will have the hardest time come September is me! Sending them off to Kindergarten has always made me uneasy. They are my first and only children. Kindergarten represents them leaving the nest. The added uncertainty surrounding the pandemic has only amplified my anxiety.
But children are resilient, and if school looks strange and different this fall, it’s probably my nerves that will be most on edge. Anyone want to start a support group… on Zoom?