An Open Letter to My Daughter's Teachers

“Making the decision to have a child is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body.” – Elizabeth Stone

Ok, yeah, I’ve heard this quote a million times, and honestly shrugged it off because my default position in motherhood has typically not been precious or sentimental. I know I might be in the mama minority, but I’m always ready for the next phase of my kids’ lives because each phase has been better than the last! I have the ability to look back on a season with a small swell of longing, quickly followed by fondness for where we’ve been and relief that we aren’t there anymore. (Goodbye newborn stage! I will never EVER miss you!)

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I still hold this to be true in most cases. However, when Josie entered Pre-K for the very first time this past September, I left Day 1 drop-off in tears. It was confusing to me because I’d been dropping Josie off at daycare nearly every day since she was 5 months old. But that cozy, in-home daycare felt safer to me than Pre-K. With its higher expectations, routines and structure, and classmates that could make or break her heart.

And mine.

Our hearts were broken a few times, as she learned how to interact with kids her own age. To balance friendships with boys and girls. To learn how to follow instructions, pay attention, and try her best.

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So I have the following to say to Josie’s teachers.

Thank you. Thank you for taking such good care of my girl’s heart, and in so doing, taking care of mine as well. Thanks for bearing with this first-timer as she learned how to line up at the door. Thanks for teaching her letters and numbers. Thanks for playing Pop the Pig and singing silly songs. Thanks for the artwork and the coloring pages that now reside on our walls and in our trash can (hey, we can’t keep everything!).

But more than that – thank you for being such loving shepherds. Thanks for being consistent in compassion, gentle in guidance, and empathetic to my little girl with big emotions. Thanks for opening our eyes (and hers!) to all that she is capable of. Thanks for celebrating her creativity, kindness, and ever-present toothless grin.

Josie and the world around her will continue to reap the benefits of your investment. The dedication you pour into each one of her classmates is not in vain. The months and years you’ve spent molding the minds and hearts of so many students counts for so much.

And this message is the same for all teachers everywhere – you are doing some of the most important work there is to be done. You are the keepers of moms’ hearts everywhere. As one of those moms, I do not take that for granted. Your work is extremely difficult and often times thankless. I can’t do anything about the workload, but I can do something about the gratitude. Thank you thank you thank you from the bottom of my mama heart for choosing this as your life’s work. It matters.

So as we celebrate the end of the school year, I’ll conclude my time with you as I began it…in tears. But for you, dear teachers, I hope summer treats you better than you could ever imagine! That it would be the perfect blend of R&R and adventure. And as the fall slowly returns to view, I hope you’re energized, refreshed, and excited to hold kids’ hands and their mamas’ hearts once again!

Please take a moment to thank a teacher this week: send a text, type an email, write a note, heck fly a dove if you have to! But join me in showing our appreciation before school is out.

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Lisa GraftComment