Finding Joy Amidst Grief this School Year

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There are moments in our life that we think about long before they come.

Moments we know are going to take up a lot of space in our hearts, moments that will likely forever be etched into our minds.

Dropping my kids off at Kindergarten for the first time is one of those moments for me. I’m a pretty emotional Mom who gets wrapped up in the firsts, and I feel A LOT.

side view of a school bus

I struggled quite a bit when my first born went to kindergarten. And now, 4 years later, it’s my middle child’s turn and I’m filled with so many other emotions I never had to process with my first.

Life looks different these days as we navigate living during a pandemic, still, 18 months later.

We live in a world that is so divided and we are surrounded by a lot of negativity and fear. As hard as I try to maintain some normalcy in our home, when they leave our home there is no way to shelter them from the world outside.

So, instead of just worrying about missing my Kindergartner and if he’ll make new friends and how he’ll like his teacher and what he’ll do if he gets lost… I’m filled with other emotions on top of the typical worries.

I’m filled with grief that his kindergarten year will not look the way it should.

Grief that a worldwide pandemic has led to our children with masks on their face without the ability to see a smile from a student or a teacher.

A boy ready for school with a mask on his face

Grief that I am not allowed inside my son’s school.

Grief that connection is different these days because everyone has a different comfort level.

This isn’t a debate on our beliefs about what is going on, or if children should wear masks, it’s recognition that no matter what side of the matter you stand on, we are all grieving. We are grieving experiences we could have never imagined looking different.

This isn’t me telling you how to feel, this is me encouraging you to FEEL IT… no matter what it is you are feeling.

This isn’t just reserved for Mama’s of kindergarteners either, this is for all of us sending our kids off to school this year who are grieving the way it used to be while embracing the way it is, and making the most of an unfortunate situation.

So, what do I know?

What I know is my kids only get one first day of school for their kindergarten and 4th grade year, and I will do my best to make it a good one.

I know that my attitude trickles downward and I will help them make the most of this year.

I know that my voice is needed and I’m learning to not be afraid to use it on matters that are important to me.

I know that our home is a safe space for my children, and now more than ever, kids need a safe space to come home to and that is something I am in control of.

This school year will be different, but I can’t redo this year with my kids, and neither can you.

When the grief consumes us, and the tears fall relentlessly down our cheeks, we can commit to remind ourselves that though this year will be different, it will also have it’s beautiful moments that we will cherish in our hearts forever.

A family of 5 laughing and playing together

I will not let a pandemic steal the joy of parenting my children.

Things may look different.

I may have to fight harder for joy.

But I will not let the joy be stolen even as I grieve the way I wish it was.

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  1. Your posts always touch my heart. Even though I’m not a young mom with kids heading back to school, I have spent so much time grieving the loss of normalcy for so many things. It saddens me when I think of the things so many have lost, but I have found joy in some of the simpler things I’ve reconnected with during the last 18 months. It is, however, very much an up and down roller coaster. I try very hard to focus only on what I can do to move forward in a positive way and filter out the things I have no control over. But on those days when I’m not having much success in the filtering department, I allow myself to grieve for the things lost and the things we are missing. I pray for the safety of all of our children and grandchildren, and for some normalcy and consistency in their lives as they begin another school year.

    1. I, too, have found joy in the simpler things during this time. It’s been the silver lining of it all for sure. All we can control these days is our attitude, and while that can be a challenge sometimes, it’s so important to focus on the good. Because there is good in every day 🙂 I’m glad when you were my teacher I got to see your pretty smile! 🙂

  2. This was beautiful and much needed as I struggle to sit with all of my uncomfortable feelings without getting overwhelmed. Thank you for sharing.

  3. Thanks Amy for sharing the “joy” amongst all the sadness. Pray for you and your beautiful family… that you continue to provide the loving, safe, comfort of home for your children. Attitude is everything. Appreciate you and your posts. Rita

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