Our Oldest Kid Started Kindergarten

By Pastor Allison Siburg

This month’s theme is “Go and…tell your story” and I was asked to share a story of my life as a parent. As the Fall starts, a lot of big feelings come to mind! I feel like a jumble of emotions, coffee drinks, to-do lists, and thoughts that wake me up at 3:00 a.m. (did we put the library book back in her backpack?)—Yes, the day has come. Our oldest kid started kindergarten. Every day after school she’s chipper and bouncy when I pick her up in the afternoons from school. And, here after only 1 week, I feel like we’re getting into somewhat of a groove with starting this new milestone at her new school. New school, new teacher, new roads, new faces, new apps, new lunch menu, a new chapter of life—it feels like new everything and this pastor-mom is exhausted!

But, I noticed one thing that hasn’t changed. The power of connection! One day I was about to drive off with our kid after pick-up time, and she said, “Wait! Put down my window!” (gone are the days of little kids knowing what “rolling down a window” means, I think) So her window went down and she waved at her friend walking by us on the sidewalk. The friend’s mom asked me, “What’s your daughter’s name?” and we sparked a conversation. Our little family and theirs. Better yet, because of that little pick-up time chat, I found out our daughters have the same teacher and are in the same class.

These first days of our oldest kid going to kindergarten have felt like a blurry story! Put pastoral duties and fall planning and ministry on top of that, oh and we do have another kid, and my spouse is somewhere making sure the rest of our life is doing good. But the thing that paused the blur was this moment of connection with this other kindergarten family. For a few moments, it felt like the air was clear and my soul was paused and present. That’s the power of connection! Even in the simple act of learning someone’s name, talking with and connecting with another person can help you pause in a busy day and appreciate the other person that God loves so much. Connecting with this other family made me feel a little less alone and helped calm my nerves, even just a little bit. The abstract became more real and grounded in the love of God that permeates into everything we know. This gave me peace at least for a few minutes.

So, if you feel like you are living in a blur with back-to-school times, know that you’re not alone! I pray that connecting with other parents becomes more possible, and maybe even you’re able to take your kid’s lead as they meet new classmates. I’ve heard in other parents’ stories that “The days are long but the years are short.” This is true! But give yourself some grace, especially this day. I hope you can feel the power of connection, too! God is present, in this and every season–and in this and every connection.

Rev. Allison Siburg serves as pastor at Salem Lutheran Church of Fontanelle, Nebraska. She loves to talk about vocation, sacraments, lifting up women and girls’ voices, and the newest episode of Bluey. When in doubt you can find her in the woods, up a tree, tossing a frisbee with coffee in hand. She’s a proud clergy spouse and mom to two kiddos who are currently growing like weeds.