To My Second Baby on the First Day of Kindergarten


Dear Second Baby (SB),

This morning, Dad and I watched you board the school bus for the first time headed to your first day of kindergarten (then we headed to the school to make sure you arrived in your classroom). Seven years ago, we did the same thing for your big sister, and I shared the complicated emotions of sending her off to kindergarten.

So many things about you and your sister are different. She’s generally quiet and introverted, while you are my noisemaker wild child. She has adopted a wardrobe of neutrals while you prefer pink, sparkly dresses. She’s almost a teenager and you’re still a (very tall) little kid. But the way I felt watching you walk up the bus steps this morning was almost identical to the way I felt sending your sister off.

Front of a yellow school busParenthood is a continual process of letting go. From the moment you left my body and came, slimy and wriggling, into my arms, I had to come to grips that I would never be able to protect you from the world the way I once had. You’ve been moving away from me ever since, but that’s the way it’s supposed to be.

As soon as you were born, you shrieked like a velociraptor, and my midwife jokingly said, “Now that’s a sound you hope she’ll grow out of!” You still make that noise on occasion, usually for comedic effect. I hope your new teacher realizes how funny you are, but I also hope that you save your inner dinosaur for the playground.

When Sister went to kindergarten, a pandemic was a thing of history books, not something I thought we would ever live through. Thankfully we have lived through it, unlike so many other people, and you even got an extra year and a half with everyone at home that we didn’t anticipate. I hope you remember that time as fondly as I’m sure I will (now that I’m not in the middle of it). Trying to make choices in the best interests of your kids is no easy task in “normal” times. I sometimes feel guilty that you spent so much time on your iPad instead of with kids your own age. There was a point in 2020 when even the playgrounds were closed, so since you gave up naps, I had to have some quiet time. Who knows, maybe you’ll become a computer programmer or start a YouTube channel.

First Day of Kindergarten

As soon as I got home from dropping you off and walked into the quiet house, I received the news that the high school in my hometown was under shelter-in-place orders because of a suspected weapon at school. Last night, I learned of the tragic death of one of my former students. News like that only heightens the anxiety I feel sending you and Sister into the world. You are my precious babies, and I’m sending you into a world that often shows it doesn’t value you as much as a handheld piece of steel. I used to be a teacher, so I know that the adults at your school will love you and protect you, but I wish all they had to think about protecting you from was hurt feelings and scraped knees. I hope you always know that you are loved beyond all measure and reason by the people waiting at home for you.

SB, I’m so proud of you, and I love watching you grow. You are one of my most favorite people, and I can’t wait to hear what you did at school today. I can’t wait to hear the names of your new classmates and what it was like to play on the school playground with so many other kids. I thought the school day would last so long when your sister went to school, but she was home before I knew it. So, my sweet second baby, here’s a blessing I wrote for her that applies perfectly to you as well:

May you find friendships that sustain you;
teachers who see you;
knowledge that nourishes you;
passions that serve you;
books that shelter you;
pain that soon leaves you;
And, at the end of each day, may you find your way
home to the place where you are our joy.

I love you, sweet girl.



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Aside from being a writer, Kendra is a Birth Trauma Doula at KarysMa Birth, where she helps moms find their joy after birth trauma. A former middle school English and theatre teacher, she has an insatiable love for learning and a flair for the dramatic. Among the best moments of her life, she counts marrying her husband Steve during a dream rainbow wedding, planning a princess picnic on the beach with her eight year old daughter Karys, giving birth to her one year old daughter Saryn in the middle of a blizzard, and sitting on stage with Glennon Doyle. A Navy brat for the first 13 years of her life, Kendra settled in Virginia for eighteen years before she was finally ready to move again, relocating to Portland in 2014. You can find her work on Portland Moms Blog, The La Leche League Blog, and The Not Your Average Mom Project, as well as the hard drive of her computer.