She Turned 5 Today

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As a Nashville based company, the shooting at Covenant School gave us a particular devastation. The shooting directly impacted Possip customers, parents, and staff. As I scrolled Facebook looking for comfort, information, and community I saw this post from a Teacher and High School Placement Coordinator at Nashville Classical East, Alissa Ly.  It said so much in a powerful way and we wanted to share with our broader community.

Thanks – Shani Dowell

She Turned Five Today

She turned five today.

She got ready, dressed like a princess and said, “Does this mean I get to go to kindergarten today?”

We give each other a tender smile and I tell her the day is coming soon, after the summer.

How sweet that our girl can’t wait for school.


I am filled with a sadness.

My baby, big enough to spend hours away from me. 

How did it happen so fast?


I go to work-

Today a visit at a school for much bigger kids.

“People get worried about security,” the principal tells me. “But there are eyes in the sky and security guards- it’s all very safe.” 

I see the cameras and the people dressed in black and think it feels like too much.


Another school.

Classes change

Teenagers walk past me-

Eyes glued to screens,

Blankly staring.

Until one startles.

I hear the news from her mouth and her cries.


My car takes me to the other side of town,

The school where I work.

I don’t remember the drive; just the sobbing, the yelling at the radio, the loud prayers, “Jesus, have mercy..”


I am filled with a different sadness.

Not of my baby growing up, but sadness that comes from a fear that she might not be able to grow old. 


I walk down hallways of teachers, barely holding it together

And children

None the wiser

Just measuring strings or

Laughing with friends or

Tired because today is Monday.


We put the children in cars and 

Everyone exhales for a moment.

The caretakers, children in tow;

The teachers, classrooms empty-

All finally able to unravel.


Until the caretakers realize

They have to explain

And the teachers realize 

We will do this all again tomorrow, but without the children’s blissful unawareness.


Somehow I find myself home.

Only after more tears, more yelling, more praying, “Jesus, have mercy…”


I wipe my face. 

She twirls around me, and tells me about her special day.

We eat cake and I try to pretend, for a moment, that the world outside this house was just a nightmare.


She turned five today.

And I know

What I hate to admit

Is that kindergarten isn’t scary anymore

Because my baby is growing up


Because the day is now coming, after summer 

When I won’t be able to pretend that the world outside this house was just a nightmare.


– Alissa Ly, Teacher and High School Placement Coordinator at Nashville Classical East.