"The most wasted of all days is one without laughter." ~e e cummings

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

An Open Letter of Appreciation

Dear Mrs. C,

I had feared the beginning of Kindergarten since my first-born baby was about three months old. (Before that, life was a blur.) I worried about letting him go. I worried about what he would be exposed to. I worried about the other kids--would be be well-liked? Would he make a friend? Would he be confident but not obnoxious? Would he show his true, beautiful and vibrant, colors or would he hide behind the veil of introversion as his mommy often did?

And then, we learned of his food allergies. All of my worries were trumped by my newest Worry: Would he be safe?

But also: Would he feel excluded during food-related school events? Would he be taunted? Teased? Peer-pressured into "trying" one of his allergens? Would there be someone there, when I couldn't be, to look over his shoulder and double check that ingredient list?

And, as if I wasn't already up-all-night as it was, we started to trip and stumble our way into the murky, undefined waters of sensory processing disorders and anxiety. And as Evan began to speak up for himself when presented with a new food ("Is that safe for me? I'm allergic to peanuts, you know."), I became overwhelmed with a new Worry...one that will probably always be with me, as it is for all parents, of all children....

Will my baby be happy?

Will he be loved?

Almost exactly a year ago, with a couple of deep breaths trying to settle a couple of nervous tummies, I kissed my Kindergartner goodbye as he stepped onto the bus, headed off to his first day of School.

And waiting for him in the doorway of that first classroom on that first day, was Mrs. C.

And he was loved.
And he was happy.
And he was safe.

And there was more.
He made friends!
He learned to read!
He sculpted with (wet, slimy, squishy, not amenable to children with sensory issues) CLAY!
He wrote stories!
He READ HIS STORY ALOUD into a microphone in front of a live audience!
He SANG and DANCED on STAGE during the kindergarten musical!

He gained confidence.
He honed his sense of humor.
He started saying things like, "But Mrs. C said....." and, "Well, according to Mrs. C...." and, "Never mind, Mom, I'll just ask my teacher."

And I've been trying since Teacher Appreciation Week to find the words to adequately express my gratitude and appreciation for everything you've given to and done for my boy. (And for me.) But I don't think those words exist, so these will have to do.

Mrs. C, Thank You.
Thank you for teaching my son. Thank you for loving him. Thank you for believing in him and for building him up. And through it all, thank you for supporting me, during what you knew in your Mother Heart to be a very difficult transition for me.

I hope that you have had a restful and rejuvenating summer vacation because I know that in a few short weeks you will be back again, giving every ounce you have to your new group of Kindergartners. And while I'm envious of the parents of your Bees-to-be, because they, and surely their children, are among the luckiest ones....I, and Evan, too, will approach the beginning of this new year, First Grade, with the confidence and positivity that we learned from you.

And it will be another great year.

With love, thanks, and most sincere appreciation,
(and Evan)

Lesson Learned:
It's easier to let go when you have someone so wonderful waiting and ready to catch him.

Now I just have to keep my fingers crossed that this one-in-a-million teacher will see me through my next two Kindergartners-to-be.....

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