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Challenge: Back to School

A Letter To My Daughter's First Grade Teacher

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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, occupational therapy evaluations and life. And somewhere along the line, that "perfect" mom got lost.

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

Basically, I was 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, the homework 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.

When self-doubt begins to take over and I drown in my own worry, I'm reminded of you. Every day, my daughter would come home from first grade with a smile on her face and a story about you.

She loved when you would read books to the class, because you read with expression -- especially when there's an exclamation mark.

We laughed together at the jokes you would tell the class, like "Why is 6 afraid of 7? Because 7, 8, 9."

When she was sad, you gave her hugs, and sometimes, you even gave her a piece of candy.

You focused on her strengths, and you celebrated her accomplishments.

During the busy school day, you still managed to find the time to tell her she is sweet and smart and funny, and that made her feel special. She wants to be a teacher because of you.


Little did I know that these stories would serve as a lesson for me. I know you probably don't think there is anything extraordinary about your actions. In fact, as a new school year approaches, I am sure these "little" things have slipped your mind completely. To you, your actions are just part of being a good teacher. To me, your actions are everything.

You have taught me a valuable lesson: my bedtime stories and my Eskimo kisses are enough. Our mommy-daughter dates and giggle sessions are enough. Listening to her stories and telling her how proud I am of her is enough. My unconditional love -- although nothing grand -- is 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 had a teacher who was perfect for her.

Thank you for teaching me that I am enough.


P.S. Please let her second grade teacher know that 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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