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'Tis the season of thank yous

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I have a confession: I am that mom. You know, the one that the room parents email over and over and over again with the most important end of the year reminders:

  • Don’t forget to send in $20 for the end-of-the year teacher gift basket.
  • The 6th grade still needs parent volunteers for field day. Please sign up if you are able to help.
  • Yearbook phots were due last week. Please send them in ASAP.

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I admit it. I am every room parent’s worst nightmare. And I don’t feel great about it. I often promise myself I will do better. I want to contribute and be a part of this great community of moms who help (and have their shit together), but I am just not there yet. My shit is scattered about the floor and completely and totally apart. Not even remotely close to being together.

And so, with this confession, I would like to publicly apologize to every room parent and team manager: I am sorry that I am 3 days behind on everything. I am sorry that I have not sent in my $20 for the end of the year gift and I am SO sorry (and embarrassed) that I never sent in the $20 for the Christmas gift, either.

Sometimes, I don’t contribute because I struggle to keep up with the plethora of emails from school, baseball, soccer, lacrosse and of course, my full-time job. My intentions are usually very good. Other times, I don’t send in the $20 because the truth is, I don’t have it. To say money is tight would be an understatement. I could send in $5, but I feel embarrassed and wonder if said room parent will laugh at my small contribution. Yes, I know that is a me problem, but at least I am owning it. I own it all in this moment: I suck at the extra stuff (of parenting).

In the meantime, just in case I never send that $20 (or $5) in, I would like to take a minute to thank those people who are so deserving- in a way that doesn’t cost a dime.

Maintenance Staff

Take a walk around any school on any given day, and you are sure to see the maintenance staff hard at work. Cleaning bathrooms, setting up for book fairs and field days, vacuuming the tiny pieces of goldfish our children sprinkled on the floor during snack that morning, flushing the toilets that the first graders forgot to flush, shoveling snow, mowing lawns and yes, even cleaning up vomit. They do it all. They do the dirty work so our kids can focus on learning and our teachers can focus on teaching. So, thank you maintenance staff. Thank you for doing the manual work that keeps our schools running. Thank you for smiling at our kids and asking them how they are in the hallway. Thank you for plowing on snow days when the rest of us are tucked into bed in our jammies. Thank you for taking care of the space and facilities that are home away from home to our kids. We appreciate you.

Coaches/Assistant Coaches

Coaches and their assistants need to be thanked, too. They are often volunteering their time to coach our children and to teach them about the really hard stuff like humility, sportsmanship, effort, and selflessness. Coaches are often moms and dads who sometimes miss their own children’s games and recitals to coach our children. They spend hours planning practices and constructing line-ups that will ensure the best success for the team. They see the good in our kids and help them improve their weaknesses. They help our children hobble off of the field when they are injured mid-game. They teach them the most important athletic lessons that translate into good life lessons like follow through, give it your all, and believe in yourself. They teach our kids how to win and how to lose. They think about the game long after it has ended and they probably have a spouse at home who is sick of hearing about the team. Coaches coach for love of the sport. And the best ones will pass that love of the game onto their athletes. To all of the many coaches who brightened the days (and lives) of my children, thank you. We appreciate you.

Office Staff

You know that lady who so kindly answers the phone every time you call to change your dismissal plans? She is awesome. She rocks! She doesn’t judge or get annoyed with you every time you call. She doesn’t huff or puff or say, you again? She gets it. And she gets it done. Every school has that one office lady who has all the answers and us moms, well, we ask all the questions. Don’t let your favorite office lady go un-thanked. So, to our local office hero, Mrs. Chase, thank you for everything.

Bus Drivers

Would you send your beloved child into any kind of transportation with 20 other kids and a complete stranger sitting behind the wheel? No. Never. Only on a school bus. These drivers get the kids to and from school safely, driving a 40-foot bus through windy, narrow roads, in all types of weather, while tolerating the noise level of 20 middle schoolers in a contained setting. It literally sounds like my worst nightmare. They remind the kids to stay seated and quiet down, and the kids continue to get on the bus every single day. They must be doing something right! Thank you, bus drivers, for remaining calm and patient and getting our kids to school safely every day.

Teachers

Really, where do I start? My son was actually disappointed when school was cancelled for snow days this year. Need I say more? That, my friends, is because his teacher is spectacular. He loves going to school and he loves learning. He feels safe there. He has fun there and he has grown tremendously in every way since September. There are no words to express my gratitude to the amazing teachers who have touched the lives of my children. Mr. Petrella, Mrs. Smith, Mrs. Kelleher, Mrs. Blanchard, and Mrs. Bailey-Gates, thank you. Thank you for giving more than required, for laughing with my kids, for looking for (and seeing) the good in them even on their worst days. Thank you for teaching them how to right their wrongs and for calling them on their bullsh*%. Thank you for your patience, your nurturing and your consistent guidance. Thank you for answering emails after hours and returning phone calls on your lunch break. Thank you, thank you, thank you. Your impact will far outlive the elementary years.

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Room Moms and Team Managers

And of course, last, but certainly not least, all of you volunteer moms and dads out there- room parents and team managers, PTO volunteers, and the moms who help out in the library each week and run the book fair every year. Thank you. Thank you for covering all of the details that are just a little too much for moms like me to handle. Thank you for the tents at the soccer tournaments, and the coolers full of waters. Thank you for taking the time to put together schedules and gift baskets and for making our teachers feel appreciated. Thank you for staying up late to send those emails and waking up early to set up for things like teacher appreciation week and special assemblies. Thank you for loving our community and our children enough to pick up the slack. And, of course, thank you for the email reminders and the patience and understanding when I just don’t do my part. We need you and we appreciate you.

Now, raise your glasses and cheers to a great summer!

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