I have so much that I want to say to you.
It’s Monday morning, and after a playful and eventful weekend with my three loving and rambunctious children, I’m taking them to school to spend the day with you.
The morning rush is frustrating, but the car ride to school is fun, as we roll down the windows and ‘rock-out’ to pop music.
The kids and I are both a bit anxious and excited about our upcoming 6-hour separation.
We love each other, of course, but we all tire of each other pretty quickly. That’s how it goes in families; you long to be with each other yet yearn to have some time apart.
As my kids get older, it seems as though they are less distraught at drop-off. Gone are the days of them crying and reaching for me as I deliver them into your care for the day. They no longer squeeze my hand as if to beg “don’t let go of me,” nor do they continue to meet my gaze until I am fully outside of the property gate.
My kids don’t understand why, as of late, I am having a harder time detaching from them outside of their classroom door. My hugs are longer and tighter, my kisses are more numerous, and I watch you for longer as I slowly back away from our embrace.
But you understand, and for that I am grateful.
You understand my anxiety because you experience it too.
You understand my fear because you, too, are scared.
You understand my desire to be in control of my child’s every move while wanting to leave enough space for them to grow.
You understand me, and I know this because of the feeling I get when your eyes meet mine at drop-off. It’s the same look we give each other at dismissal as a sign of acknowledgment; acknowledgment from you that you realize the precious cargo within your possession, and acknowledgment from me that I fully comprehend the extent of compassion, support, and safe-keeping you provide my children.
My children go to school to learn. Absolutely. But, what is unfortunately dismissed by those who fund education in America and by busy, self-absorbed parents is that the majority of what our children are learning isn’t coming from their school books.
Every day you take the time to ensure that my children are gaining more than knowledge from a text or a worksheet.
You selflessly spend your own money on necessary supplies or extra items to excite my children and to ignite their creative juices.
You take the time to get to know my child; her ins and her outs, her preferences and dislikes, her strengths and her weaknesses.
You ensure that you exude humble confidence, one that leads your students to believe that you know what you are doing, but that you are open to and accepting of their voiced contributions.
You keep my children safe and I could not ask for much more than that.
You understand me, and maybe it’s because you have a child of your own which prompts the same feelings for you toward their teacher, or maybe it’s simply because your heart adopts each child who steps foot in your room when the school year begins.
Sweet teacher, I have so much that I want to say to you and this little note is just the beginning.
What I and parents across the country should be doing is telling you more often just how gosh darn necessary you are to our families. Yes, I said that you are a part of our family; a very substantial and crucial part.
Please know you are an angel, a hero, and a spectacular human being, and my appreciation for you is unconditional and increasing 10-fold every day my child is returned to my arms happy, healthy, and safe.
This ‘thank you’ is just the beginning of what I hope will be an outpouring of love and support and praise aimed in your direction.
An Enormously Grateful Parent