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Monday, May 18, 2015

To My Daughter's First Grade Teacher

To My Daughter's First Grade Teacher,

I am not the mom I had always envisioned being.

When my daughter entered your first grade class last August, I had every intention of being the "perfect" mom, but then there were neurology appointments and OT evaluations and life.  And somewhere along the line, that "perfect" mom got lost.

As the school year comes to a close, I realize that I have never attended a PTA meeting.  I have missed field trips. On more than one occasion, I know I have forgotten to send the class snack in.  And when I did send in snack, it was not organic nor Pinterest worthy.  In all honesty, there are days when everyone leaving my house with matching socks on and their hair combed is a win.

Basically, I am a shattered version of the mom I thought I would be.

I am still learning how to navigate the murky waters of being the parent of two children -- one who constantly needs me and one who deserves more of me.  I go to bed each night with this reality and with a tremendous amount of guilt.

Some days, I pull it all off.   Everyone gets exactly what they need and want. On those days, I manage to create a balance between the doctor's appointments, the therapy sessions and the everyday, fun-filled moments of childhood, and I give myself a pat on the back.

Other days, no matter how hard I try, I fail miserably.  I worry that while I am providing for my child with special needs, my oldest daughter is missing out on the mom I wanted to be -- the one who plans class parties, who is an expert at french braiding and play dates and who has an undivided attention to give freely.  I fear that somewhere between phone calls to doctors and burning dinner, I haven't done an adequate job dividing my time.  I am scared that what I have to give isn't enough.  I am afraid that I am not good enough.

And just when my self-doubt begins to take over and I begin to drown in my own worry, my daughter comes home from school with a smile on her face, a story about you, and a lesson for me.

She tells me that she loves when you read books to the class, and she likes that you read with expression -- especially when there's an exclamation mark.  We laugh at the jokes you tell, like "Why is 6 afraid of 7?  Because 7, 8, 9."  When she is sad, you give her hugs, and sometimes, you even give her candy.  You focus on her strengths, and you celebrate her accomplishments.  During the busy school day, you still manage to find the time to tell her she is sweet and smart and funny, and that makes her feel special.  She wants to be a teacher because of you.

I know you probably don't think there is anything extraordinary about your actions.  To you, it is just part of being a good teacher.  To me, your actions are everything.

All the "little" things you do, without even thinking, make a difference in my daughter's life.  Your smiles, your thumbs ups and your "good jobs," mean the world to her.  And your actions have taught me a valuable lesson as well:  my bedtime stories, my hugs, my kisses and my love -- although nothing grand -- are more than enough too.

I know I am not the "perfect" mom -- each day I am learning and growing -- but I am thankful my daughter has a teacher who is perfect for her.

Thank you for all you do, and thank you for teaching me that I am enough.


P.S.  I promise I will make it to a PTA meeting one of these days...right after I master this french braid.

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