The things you didn’t think would make you cry

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but do… parenthood is full of these things, no?  Never would’ve convinced me that a very conservative little 50-something woman with a wicked Southern (Alabama, to be specific) drawl, who insists on the most proper of manners from 5 years olds would make me cry by reading a letter written by Author Unknown.

But when that woman happens to have been your kid’s Kindergarten teacher and it’s the year-end thing and she’s all teary-eyed… well, it’s just brutal.

Dear Parents:

I give you back your child, the same child you confidently entrusted to my care last fall.  I give him back pounds heavier, inches taller, months wiser, more responsible, and more mature than he was then.

Although he would have attained his growth in spite of me, it has been my pleasure and privilege to watch his personality unfold day by day and marvel at this splendid miracle of development.

I give him back reluctantly, for having spent nine months together in the narrow confines of a crowded classroom, we have grown close, have become a part of each other, and we shall always retain a little of each other.

Ten years from now if we met on the street, your child and I, a light will shine to our eyes, a smile to our lips, and we shall feel the bond of understanding once more, this bond we feel today.

We have lived, loved laughed, played studied, learned and enriched our lives together this year.  I wish it could go on indefinitely, but give him back I must.  Take care of him, for he is precious.

Remember that I shall always be interested in your child and his destiny, wherever he goes, whatever he does, whoever he becomes.  His joys and sorrows I’ll be happy to share.

I shall always be his friend.

So this is yet another one of those things no one warns you about before having kids.  The things that would’ve made you roll your eyes not so many years ago now have you reaching for the tissues and trying to retain some semblance of your composure.  I’m sure the older they get, the more they’re going to hate having their teacher make their mom cry in class.  I better learn to keep it together or they’ll probably start “losing” the announcements that come home about these sorts of events so as to just avoid the whole scene.

I actually get teary a lot when I think about my kids’ teachers.  I knew from the first day I volunteered in DS1’s kindergarten class that a) these people do an amazing job and b) there is nothing on earth that could make me capable or willing to do it.  Frankly, in terms of contribution to society, I think professional athletes and teachers should switch salaries.  But at these times (i.e. when I start to fret about whether next years teachers could possibly be as great, thinking surely my luck must run out at some point) I am always, again, so eternally grateful to them all and so keenly aware of what a truly significant and long-lasting impact they have on my kids.  Particularly in the first couple years when they are either learning to love learning or they are learning that school is a struggle / unpleasant / whatever.   I have to think that is where the teacher makes the most difference and that that is what changes the rest of their school career to a much greater extent than what they learn in terms of academics.

As far as other non-academic things they learn… I now have one half Jamaican/half Canadian child with an intermittent southern accent.  He’s also a Seminoles fan thanks to her although I’m reasonably certain he hasn’t a clue what that is even about. He knows the song though and he can spot the team logo anywhere.

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One response »

  1. Well said. The importance of the people in the early years of children’s lives is so undervalued. It is a special talent to do it well, and so precious when our children are the beneficiaries.

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