Next week Lila will enter her next room at our wonderful preschool, and these transitions only seem to get harder. Each year we grow more attached to our teachers, and more grateful for the role they play in our daughter’s growth. But most poignantly, we grow more aware of how quickly time is passing. How many stages are flying by before our eyes. How we’re still needed every day, but not the same way we were even a few months ago.
There may or may not have been a gaggle of crying moms in the classroom this morning. Lots of feelings going on. And I’m particularly “feely” right now. Preschool transitions, going back to work, post-partum hormones up the wazoo. Not bad feelings, just lots of them, enough to make me quote Ron Burgundy a few times a day.
While it’s personal, I’m sharing what I wrote to Lila’s teachers this week, mostly so that she can read this in 30 years and recognize that there were some pretty special people in her life from years she may not even remember. These teachers are incredible.
It’s hard to believe Lila’s year in this class is ending, and even harder to explain to all of you how incredibly grateful we are for your love, nurturing, patience and support. There are honestly no words to appropriately thank you for the pivotal role you’ve played in the development of our daughter, and we will always be thankful to you and think of you like family.
When Lila started in this room, she wasn’t even two yet, and the youngest one out of the whole group. The first few weeks were rough – lots of crying (Lila in the room, then usually me in the hallway walking away), but even on the most dramatic drop-offs, I always knew she would be just fine moments after I left. Whoever was there would scoop her up and hug and love on her, which was so comforting. No one told her to stop crying – you validated her feelings and helped her work through them. You got her into a great routine of feeding the fish or the chickens each day as a distraction, and then helped her stay involved in the process by learning to open the door for me as I left.
Those small efforts meant so much, because they transformed emotional mornings into triumphant ones. Now, a year later, Lila sprints to her classroom, opens the door herself, and when I pick her up I most often hear, “NO MOMMY, I WANT TO STAY HERE.” I love how confident she has become, and that is a credit to you.
Being a working parent is hard, and I won’t disguise the fact that I believe it’s hardest for moms. Even when we love our careers and feel school is the best choice for our little ones, it’s never easy to leave them all day. Especially during sensitive times, or when we’re going through transitions. We worry. We feel guilty. A lot. And I know at times we were probably overbearing or downright clueless with our question and requests, but you were always patient and understanding. We always can tell how genuinely you love every child in the room, and that is such a gift to us as parents.
I’ve probably said 100 times that I don’t know how you do what you do, because this age is so hard. Not only were you helping 24 kids potty train, a good portion of them also became older siblings this year. How you all handled this with such grace (and smiles, no less) will always amaze me. Please know that we recognize how hard your job is, and appreciate your role in all of it. We probably didn’t thank you enough, but we always felt gratitude, especially when Lila became a big sister – you were a consistent source of support for our entire family and made the transition so much easier for us by keeping her happy and engaged with lots of attention.
Lila would not be who she is today – as confident, articulate, loving and happy – without each of you. You’ve nurtured her in a deeply personal way, and it’s been so beautiful to watch her blossom under your care. My shy almost-two-year-old has become a bubbly and self-assured almost-three-year-old, and while she may not always remember the ins and outs of her preschool days, we sure will, and we will always remember this year fondly.
Thank you so very much. Your work changes lives for the better.