For a moment, I have to set aside all the insanity about COVID and everything else going on in the world and just be a parent for a moment.
On Thursday, our little girl started second grade. SECOND GRADE. I’m sure parents everywhere feel a little disoriented when their kids display a stubborn tendency to keep growing up, and to keep growing up quickly. The idea of Amelia starting second grade made me realize that it still seems like practically yesterday that she was a little toddler, just starting to step out into the world.
I remember when she was really little and taking her first ballet classes, and I needed to sit by the open door of the studio so she could see me there. I remember after a few weeks she got more comfortable, made friends, and I could start edging away. I also remember one of the first times I saw her talking to a new friend in her class, and she pointed out to me and said with pride, “That’s my Dad.” I knew immediately that was a moment that I would hold onto forever.
When she started preschool, she would cry when we left for the first week or two. Before long, she was just fine seeing Mom and Dad walk out the door. We worried how she would do starting kindergarten, and she aced it. One of the youngest in her class, she jumped right in and made amazing friends right away.
And in the blink of an eye, here it is, already second grade. I don’t know why, but for some reason this seems so grown up to me. Maybe its because my own memory of grade school pretty much starts with second grade. I have a few vague memories of kindergarten and first grade, but second grade feels like the zone where I really started to form permanent memories.
It’s an exciting time for her, and undeniably it is wrapped up in the strange days in which we live. As I mentioned in previous posts, Amelia is starting the year doing virtual learning, and we got her set up with her own Chromebook, and Erin put together a great desk setup for her.
We still want it to feel like the first day of school for Amelia, a kid who really gets excited for school. So we started the day with lots of enthusiasm, and we did our usual first day of school pictures.
She was all smiles, and got up to her desk, ready to go. Erin went to get her logged in….
…and nothing worked. The server was totally overloaded.
I’m sure plenty of parents out there have run into this, and I feel for schools and teachers who are tying to completely reinvent the education process. I’ve had enough technical snafus and panic attacks for the little Zoom presentations I do, so I can only imagine what they’re going through.
But after a few minutes, we were able to get on and Amelia was off and running.
She did a great job paying attention and doing her thing. We checked in on her throughout the morning, and she seemed a little off. We were worried about how she was feeling about all of this.
At lunchtime we talked, and she was a little sad that some of her good friends from the last year weren’t in her class this year. But, Amelia always being a glass-half-full person, enthusiastically told me that there were friends she had from kindergarten who were in this class.
By the end of the day, she seemed more happy and enthusiastic, and she told me several times about how fun math was, so I can only assume that things must be going well. We all know math isn’t fun. Right? Am I right? OK, I admit to being a hopelessly biased word guy.
But anyway, she did really well on her first day and I know she will do great all around. It still both breaks my heart and angers me that we couldn’t do a better of job of pulling together as a society so that the virus spread could have been mitigated to create a safer potential environment to send kids back to school in some fashion.
Sure, everyone could have worn masks and practiced responsible social distancing to limit overall spread, but where’s the fun in that? If we have learned after many years of heated debate around many issues like school funding and guns, asking people to make tiny sacrifices for the public good is beyond the pale, and nothing so petty as the health and well being of our children must ever impinge on the sacred rights of people to be selfish jerks.
Pardon me, I digress. I will try to channel my daughter’s positivity. I know Amelia would rather be back with her friends in school, and I wish for her that she could be, but I also know how risky that is right now. The world is what the world is and am glad she is learning safely at home. I know our little girl, and I know she will make the best of any situation. I just look forward to the day that the world rewards her boundless positivity with a healthy dose of normalcy.