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Kindergarten in Heaven

We are planning to homeschool Gianna (age 4) and lately I have been spending a lot of time researching curricula. During my research, I have had a strong desire to purchase a kindergarten curriculum for Gianna. The only problem—Gianna is a little too young for kindergarten. She will be 4.5 come September, and while mature for her age, she will definitely struggle with some of the material because she is too young.

Despite this fact, and regardless of my otherwise relaxed attitude towards homeschooling, I have had a strong desire to plunge forward and buy a kindergarten curriculum. Is this because I want my daughter to succeed academically? It is because I am a pushy parent, already putting pressure on my 4 year old to attain academic greatness? Is it because I think my child is mature for her age? Or intelligent for her age? Is it because I’m excited to be a “real” homeschooler?

No. I just want to have a little girl in kindergarten. But why?

This desire has been so strong that I spent last night lying awake thinking about why I want her to be in kindergarten. The label was somehow important to me. I look back with nostalgia at my own kindergarten experience. It was a real milestone in my life, and a time of great joy, learning, and independence. Was this the reason?

No. It was deeper than that. And then it hit me.

Therese.

Our baby Therese would be starting kindergarten this fall. Therese is my first baby, who was stillborn due to a fatal birth defect called anencephaly. If Therese were here, I would be ordering a kindergarten curricula for her.

“If she were here…”
“What if…”
“If only…”

These are the words of grief that ruled my life after Therese died. Grief has a funny way of rolling in when we least expect it. And last night it was back and I missed my daughter terribly. I thought of the dreaded day we heard the news that Therese wouldn’t be here with us for long. I distinctly remember crying until my entire body hurt and my eyes could barely see. I thought of all the great moments in life that would never be for Therese and me. And at the time, one of those moments was the first day of kindergarten.

Last night, as I laid silently in bed holding back the tears, with an aching chest and a large lump in my throat, I just closed my eyes and prayed. And God answered. I pictured my daughter, with long curly brown hair, running through a heavenly kindergarten playground, straight into the arms of Jesus. I had peace that my job was already done. Therese was there, in heaven. And the next thing I knew it was morning.


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