This definitely was not how I imagined Ella's last days of Pre-K would look like, but here we are. Celebrating my little graduate in quarantine. And I am definitely feelin' ALL the feels.
The rollercoaster of emotions we experience as we navigate through motherhood is insane. Especially when it comes to the constant tug-o-war of wanting our kids to hurry and grow up (so they're not so needy of us) but wanting time to slow the eff down so they can be little just a bit longer. So as you can probably imagine, I am a complete wreck. I knew I'd be a hot mess anyway because that's just Mom Life, right? But this whole distance learning thing and graduating in quarantine has made me EXTRA emotional.
How I Feel About This Whole Thing
This entire experience is bittersweet. And if I'm being 100% honest, I can't help but feel SO robbed. I know this is only pre-k, but it's still a big deal for both Ella and myself. It's a big accomplishment for a 4 year old who has never been in a daycare-like environment up until the day she started Pre-K. And she LOVED it right from the start. She looked forward to going to school every single day, she was always super excited for "share day" when she got to share a toy with her class, and she LOVES her teacher. Heck, even I love her teacher. I wish she could be Ella's teacher for the rest of her Elementary school years, but I know that's not how this works.
When COVID happened and school was closed down, it broke my heart to see the confusion in her eyes when I told her she wouldn't be going back to school. She understood that she wasn't going to be able to see her friends or her teacher in person for awhile but she couldn't really comprehend why. Distance learning and virtual class meets 3x a week helped a bit, but she really misses being in an actual classroom with all of her friends. Her class meetings only lasted 30-45 minutes and, for the first couple of weeks, she would get very sad. Which broke my heart, too. This has been so hard on us all. Homeschooling hasn't been easy for me (as previously stated, I don't have a lot of patience to teach), but this entire experience has taught me so much - in fact, it reminded me a lot of the newborn days when we had no clue what we were doin' and we were just figuring things out as the days came and went. Ella and I eventually figured out our groove with this whole distance learning thing. The resources her teacher and school provided us helped A LOT. We also had a parent-teacher conference a couple of weeks ago and her teacher reassured us that Ella is on-track and has been ready for Kindergarten for some time now. She encouraged us to continue working on learning sight words in both English and Spanish since Ella will be going into a dual-language immersion program next school year... So yeah, there is much to celebrate for sure!
I had envisioned a cute little Pre-K graduation ceremony in her classroom and being able to attend their end-of-year class party. Getting to watch her be so excited with her friends and capturing all the cheesy memories... all of those hopes and dreams are gone now. Yes I know I'm being dramatic but I was really looking forward to ALL of it.
But all was not lost. Ella's last official day of class was on May 20th (the day she had her STEM presentation) but her teacher hosted a Virtual Awards Ceremony today (Wednesday, May 27th) to celebrate this big accomplishment. I bought Ella a cap & gown, we got her some balloons and noise makers, and then we took her out for some ice cream from Dairy Queen to celebrate as a family. I know she may not remember the details of this strange time when she's older but I do hope she remembers all the good times. Because she truly enjoyed being a preschooler and we did our best to make her graduation day a special one. And that's all that matters.
Just a little message to my lil graduate...
Congratulations, my sweet Ella Juliet. Thank you for being the sweet and spunky lil girl that you are. You have taught me so much about myself from DAY 1 - about how to be your mom and now, your teacher. You have made so many friends and have gained so much confidence and skills and you continue to make me proud every. single. day. You are the best Big Sister to Everly. You are very smart, exceptionally kind, and just amazing all around. I have no doubt that you will accomplish great things in life. Don't ever lose sight of who you are or where you come from and don't be afraid to stand up for what's right. Love you always and forever, Your Mommy.