My sweet boy,
I thought it would be during this past year that I would cry as I dropped you off at your first day of Kindergarten. As it turns out, we have spent more time together than I ever imagined and we are now nearly an entire trimester into virtual Kindergarten from home with at least another one ahead of us.
When the coronavirus shut everything down in March, we hunkered down (as we still are, 8 months later). Those first couple of weeks, when we thought quarantining and masks and business closures would only last two weeks (which is really funny now looking back at how naive we were), we got antsy. With the weather warming up, we started hiking outside. We hiked and hiked and hiked. It was nearly every day that we went outside, either to explore a new trail or to revisit an old one. When our quarantining continued, we just kept going outside, getting fresh air and moving our bodies. More than once, I had to bribe you and Perrin both with things like binoculars, bird calls, a GoPro, and compasses as both of you started getting tired of our “adventures.”
We found a little creek near our house with the most perfect sand bar that we would go to during the hot summer months, especially when moods were exaggeratedly horrible. The water was shallow enough to walk through, not even coming up to your knees and both you and Perrin could play for hours there. (Which was great because pools were closed and our swim choices were very limited.)
Your interests continue to grow, now reaching for the moon. Literally. You are fascinated with space and watching every launch that occurs, most recently the SpaceX/NASA launch last Sunday where we watched hours of live lead-up coverage to the launch as well as the astronauts’ arrival at the International Space Station over 24 hours later. You requested a space rocket cake for your birthday and I’m hoping it turns out as good as what you’re dreaming of.
While space holds your attention, you continue to love farming, construction trucks, and trains. Some books we’ve read this year have also piqued your interest in things like solar panels and wind turbines and how they work. We turn to Google and YouTube a lot to get answers to all your questions. Our local library has 15-minute browsing appointments now so we’ve also been able to take advantage of the one-on-one time with our children’s librarians for their help to gather books for us figure out the how’s and why’s.
You have always had a timidness about you, a sense of perfectionism, that holds you back from trying new things. Maybe out of fear of failure. Maybe out of a sense of danger. It’s how you never took your first step, but just walked from the living room into the kitchen one day. You didn’t speak except for a few words until after you were two and we had started speech therapy. Turned out, you just wanted to speak perfectly the first time. So when it came to your bike, you were incredibly comfortable with training wheels, but very jittery about even the idea of trying on two wheels. And then one day several months ago, with some tips from your daddy, you suddenly figured it out and braved the jitters and, since that moment, you’ve been biking all over. We bought you a bigger bike and now you and Daddy love to go on long bike rides on nice days and you’re always so proud to come home and tell me how many miles—6, 10, 12!—that you’ve gone.
Kindergarten, though nothing like we had imagined, has settled into a routine that you enjoy. Our first month was a struggle, I won’t lie. It was a huge learning curve for all of us (the programs, Seesaw, zoom links, the schedule itself) and doing classes virtually on a Chromebook is not how Kindergarten is supposed to be. But you’ve shown resilience beyond your years and you seem to be thriving in circumstances beyond anything we would’ve imagined. You love your zoom classes—4 throughout each morning—where you get to be with your teacher Mrs. Gremore and your classmates. Most days, you tackle your assignments without much prompting because of knowing that as soon as you’re done, you get to play for the remainder of the day. Though you were already reading long before school started, it’s been fun to see your writing improve and to watch how numbers fall into place for you, counting to 100 by 1s and 5s, adding and subtracting basic math, and working out number comparisons. I’m so proud of you for embracing virtual school, even though you don’t really know what else to compare it to, and doing your best. When Daddy asks you every evening how school was that day, you always say, “It was great!!”
I know this past year has been a strange one in many ways, but I have been so amazed by both your’s and Perrin’s ability to go with the flow. You wear your masks without a second thought. You social distance without complaint. You pray every night for the scientists and doctors working on a vaccine. There have been sad moments of breakdown, of anger at the virus, of missing your friends. But you also seem to understand the importance of why we are doing what we’re doing and you always want to do your part to keep us and others healthy. You have a loving and gentle heart and I’m just so thankful that I get to nurture that and watch you grow. Being your mama will forever be my crowning joy in life. I am the luckiest to be able to call you my son and the world is a lucky place to have you in it.
I love you all the way to the moon and back, my sweet Henry.