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Dear kindergarten teacher: My son will be absent on the first day of school

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I am sorry to report that my son will be absent on the first day of school this year.

You may not realize it, but his name is glaringly absent from your current roster.

I walked by your classroom door just the other day and took note that his name wasn’t carefully written inside a bright red apple taped around your window.

He will never sit at a desk or hang his backpack on a hook.

On that first day of school, which is coming upon me so quickly, I won’t be walking him to the bus stop and crying tears as he drives away.

You see, my son will be absent on the first day of school.

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Don’t be mistaken. There will be tears. I will sob as I sit at my computer and see pictures of my friend’s little ones holding signs that say “First Day of Kindergarten."

I would never begrudge them their joy, and I will like their photos on Facebook and Instagram, but inside, a piece of my heart will feel like it is being ripped out and pulled out through my ears, or my nose, or in the most painful way you could ever imagine.

When I go in to volunteer in my daughter’s classroom, I will peer in your room and my breath will catch in my throat. For a moment I may imagine him sitting in a circle listening to a story or sharing secrets with a friend. It won’t take long for me to remember that will never be a reality.

My son will be absent on the first day of school, but you will feel him there, I promise.

He is the breeze that tickles your nose as you stand on the playground. He is the dragonfly that flutters around trying to get a child’s attention. He is the dandelion puff that gets blown here and there as a dozen little feet run by.

My son will be absent on the first day of school. In fact, he will not be present at all this year.

Unfortunately, I am sure he is not the only one who is missing, so please be gentle when you see a parent peer into your room imagining all that could have been.

Just in case you want to pencil him in lightly at the bottom of your list, his name was Bennett.

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