COVID-19 was NOT in Any of Those “What to Expect” Books!

Yesterday, my daughter’s class presented the “Letter Z” during their Wacky Wednesday Zoom lesson. Immediately she proclaimed “Mom, School is over and we won’t see our teachers and friends again.” The tears began to flow. For a while, I wasn’t sure where her tears stopped and mine began. How do I explain to my child that she’s exactly right?  You see this was her last year at Montessori School of Baton Rouge (MSBR). Next year she starts Kindergarten at a new school with new friends and new teachers. MSBR has been so amazing for us, I have often wished the school lasted all the way to high school, or at least middle school. Unfortunately, my son didn’t have the privilege of a loving and caring first school experience. So this is new for us and very much appreciated. The downside is that you never want to leave, and certainly not abruptly.

While we have explained “Coronavirus” to her, she is still a very sociable four-year old. When you have a child that is truly “Miss Congeniality” with a strong passion and desire to learn and challenge herself, it is extremely difficult to duplicate that in a homeschool or distance learning environment. You see, CEO (these are her initials), has one of those warm personalities that lights up every room she enters. She is the child that you will find interacting with every kid at school. She is the kid that is going to empathize with you. BUT she is also the kid that will excuse herself if too much drama ensues. But most importantly she is not afraid to express herself. So it comes as no surprise when she advised us that the coronavirus makes her “worried, sad, and angry.” What was surprising was that the only thing I knew to say was “Me too, baby. Me too.”

I realize this isn’t her senior year, however it doesn’t change her emotions (or mine). She has yet to learn about a senior year. She does, however, know that she made her first friends right on the playground at MSBR. She knows that for the last two years she has shared lunch, circle time, and many learning activities with her friends. She knows that even in her dreams she could not have had better teachers. Her teachers helped guide her to find her rhythm. They helped her find her light, and oh boy has she learned to let it shine. But just as a light shines, that light can be dimmed. Unfortunately for CEO, that is exactly what happened in her four-year-old experience. Her light was dimmed, and just like that, my little CEO had to say her end of the year farewells via zoom without the benefit of a handshake or hug. She never got to have her Montessori Farewell Candle Ceremony that has become synonymous with Montessori programs worldwide. And just like that, without any fault of my own, this mommy feels like she failed her. I feel like, all too soon, I wasn’t able to protect her from heartbreak. All too soon, I was unable to take her out for ice cream and a spa day to make it better. Just like that, I concluded that this parenting during COVID-19 has been the most difficult parenting feat to date.

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Dee Odom grew up in Jonesboro, LA. Dee earned a Bachelors from Grambling State University in Grambling, LA and a Masters from the rival school Southern University and A&M College in Baton Rouge, LA. However, the rivalry only lasts for one Saturday in November, the Saturday after Thanksgiving. Dee has a strong passion for public policy, social justice, and cooking. Therefore, it is no surprise that this self-proclaimed foodie met her husband, Chef Brandon while trying a new spot, and ultimately co-founded Odom’s Kitchen ( Together Dee and Brandon have two amazing children. One of the things she loves most about being in Louisiana is providing her children with access to three living great-grandparents. Additionally, Dee and Brandon enjoy entertaining friends and family through food and laughs.


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