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April 30, 2020

“Mom? When’s April 13?” asks my kindergartener.

I know why she’s asking but still I clarify,
“Why are you asking sweetie?”.

“‘Cause I miss my friends and my teacher,” she answers with eyes too innocent to understand.

“That’s when we’re supposed to go back to school.”

I gently remind her of the germs that are making some people sick so just to be extra safe the school is asking mommies and daddies to teach their kids.

She doesn’t understand but says “Okay…” half-heartedly and walks away.

It’s been more than a month since she and her siblings have been out of school.

She has asked me about her friends, her school, the class celebrations they were planning and her teacher on a regular basis.

My teens and preteens understand. Even my 5th grader gets it, sort of. But for my kindergartener it’s been the most difficult.

She’s the one who sees a mud puddle as a wondrous invitation and refuses to walk around it.

She thinks the 5 hats on her head are a fashion statement and can’t understand why her brother giggles. 

She tells me Elsa feels scared of the dark and would rather sleep in Anna’s bed (when she wants to sleep in her sister’s room). 

She’s our lively, innocent one. Bright-eyed and unaware.

But in this past month she’s become a little more serious. She knows there are germs called Coronavirus making it unsafe for her to go to school or to the store. 

She knows Daddy wears a mask when he Facetimes her from work sometimes. 

She knows that mom cries a little more when she prays these days. 

She knows all about washing hands, sanitizing, and covering coughs and sneezes.

She knows that her older siblings discuss rising numbers and wants to know what that means.

We tell her this would be the perfect time to read a book together, while staring down our teens.

Two days later, she came to me again. “Is it April 13 yet, Mommy?”. I reply, “Sweetie do you remember what Mommy told you?”.

“Yeah… but I miss my school,” she tells me. We hug each other. And then she says excitedly “I can’t wait for June, that’s when we’re going to have our class celebration!”

My innocent kindergartener understands, but refuses to accept.

-Tumkeen

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