Why I'm So Grateful For My Kindergartener

by Elyse Lopez
Allison Michael Orenstein/Getty

Dear Kindergartener,

This year, in the words of Alexander Hamilton in a musical that we both love, “the world turned upside down.” But instead of sitting here and focusing on what we’ve had to wrestle with, I am sitting here being filled with gratitude.

You have been hit with a burst of what can only be described as Kindergartener Energy. This past weekend, when I wanted to relax a bit, this Energy would not allow it. By the end of the weekend, buried under piles of YouTube-tutorial drawing pages, a heap of dirty dishes from food experimentations, and at least three layers of costume makeup, I wondered how I would survive the upcoming winter with limited opportunities to leave the house. I had once used the Nintendo Switch or Disney+ as temptations to allow your tiny caboose to sit still and my much larger backside to take a quick 20-minute snooze or a lightning-fast cleaning session, but now, even those don’t hold your attention for long. So there I was, at 8:30pm on a Sunday night, snoring on the couch while you were still singing to your unicorn stuffy in bed after your final goodnight kiss.

But then Monday came, and you returned to your dad’s house. And that was it. Immediately, I started to ache for your return.

There is a quote that I love from a movie called Friends with Kids, in which the merits of being a divorced parent are discussed: “Actually, divorced people have it kind of great. They get all of the toxic, unsexy stuff out of the way with the first person, then when they meet the person they really want to be with, they only have to be with the kid half the time…they get all kinds of time together when the kid’s with the ex, then they get QT with the kid because it’s special.”

This is a quote that I think about often. I think about it when you are at your dad’s house, and never when you’re with me. Why specifically then, you might ask? Because it’s a coping mechanism. When you grow up and start to experience hard times that you have no control over, you have to find the bright side or those hard times will consume you. And the truth is that, with only having you half the time, I get some fantastic bonding time with the boyfriend, and I get some much needed rest after a hard day’s work or an active weekend. And those are insanely great bright sides.

But the reason I have to fixate on this quote is because if I don’t seek out the positive, the fact that I will only experience half of your childhood by your side will consume me. It still happens anyways sometimes, even when I try my best to keep those thoughts away from me, and it is too much for this anxious lady to handle. I wouldn’t change it because your time with your dad is just as important as your time with me, but fuck, to say it hurts just doesn’t do it justice.

But QT is absolutely right. Every time I see you again, it feels like Christmas did when I was your age. Like I have been waiting excitedly for this time and I get exactly what I was hoping for: you.

Today, we woke up early (mostly because you ran into my room and demanded snuggles and a showing of Bluey), made some eggs together, and laughed as the puppies tried to lick the peanut butter and banana topping from our toast. We put fancy dresses on and we danced along with Spotify in the family room. We had a blast.

Because, though I only see you half the time, I am eternally grateful for the time I do have with you — and that I’m the one who gets to be your mom.


Your Adoring Mama