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Are You Ready for Kindergarten?



In the summer of 2002 we invited our readers to take two leaps of faith first by writing a personal essay, and then by letting us read it. We received many wonderful entries. Here’s one of our favorites.

This article appeared in our April 2003 issue. It’s a glorious day in early September. Kindergartners fly around the playground like birds freed from cages. Across the street, a car pulls up. The driver parks, careful to not get too close and call attention to the prying eyes focused on one little girl. Auburn hair, fair skin with freckles, all innocence in a pretty new dress. Back and forth she swings. Back and forth. The driver watches her every move. Five minutes go by. The driver sits silently, staring, eyes glued to the little girl. No one seems to notice the car. Good thing. The driver sits there, transfixed. The start of a hellish nightmare? Hardly. Look more closely at the driver. It isn’t some pervert. It’s just another kindergarten mom on the first day of school, wondering where five years could possibly have gone. I know. I’m the mom. How many times had Katie and I been on this playground together, talking about the day she’d be one of the school kids at recess — right here? Someday, we’d say. Not today. But here it is: today. Today she’s in heaven, and I’m still on earth &mda …


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Maureen Anderson is the author, with Dick Beardsley, of Staying the Course: A Runner’s Toughest Race (University of Minnesota Press). Her syndicated radio program, “The Career Clinic,” which helps people find the work they love, is broadcast worldwide.

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