My husband and I live about 6 hours north of my parents, so when we found out we were expecting our first child, a little piece of my heart broke knowing my own momma wasn’t just down the road, a quick two second ride away, for when I needed her; whether it was a night that Giulia wouldn’t stop crying and I couldn’t figure out why or just needing her to take over for a few hours so my husband and I could have a break. I knew in my heart that my husband and I were predominantly alone in the raising of our children. Yes, my mom was only a phone call away, but sometimes there’s nothing like the physicality of one’s love and support.
I decided during my pregnancy to work from home after our daughter’s birth. So for the first 3 years of her life, Ken and I were the only teachers and role models our daughter knew. When it came time for her to start preschool, the fear of sending my baby girl out into this world, to complete strangers, was insurmountable. “It takes a village,” they often say and our family is the perfect example of one that so desperately relies on that “village.” As much as I wanted to, there was no way I could’ve done it all on my own. Here we are almost 4 years later, my daughter weeks away from finishing Kindergarten and my oldest son having just finished his first year of preschool and I no longer walk into their schools with fear and doubt. Instead, I walk out, after drop-off, with my head held high, happy and confident in these amazing individuals who are helping to raise my sweet babies, teaching them things that are out of my realm of parenting, preparing them for the world, shaping them into the adults they’ll someday be…
I want to throw it back a few weeks to Teacher Appreciation. Being the secretary of the PTSA at my daughter’s school and taking the lead on Teacher Appreciation at my son’s preschool, I had a huge hand in the planning and implementing of lots of surprises for our amazing teachers. Way too many times during the course of that week I’d hear one of them say, “Thank you so much! This was way too much. You didn’t have to do all of this.” Oooooh you amazing, undervalued, underpaid, wonderful human beings you…I know I didn’t have to…I wanted to.
Let me take a moment and get a little more personal with you: my very own mother has been teaching for 37 years. Ladies and gentlemen, this is her final year teaching! She is retiring in less than a month, throw your hands up, we’re in the home stretch…hallelujah!! Growing up with a parent who teaches has shown me all of the elusive, behind-the-scenes that you don’t often see or even know about from a student’s or parent’s perspective. Her job never ended at 3pm. Ever. As I sat at the table, throughout my childhood, doing my homework, my mother sat right beside me grading papers. After dinner was served, baths were had, and we were relaxing as a family, watching “Full House,” she was busy doing lesson plans for the following day. On the weekends, while grocery shopping, she was making sure to add extra boxes of tissues, packages of pencils and paper, and boxes of crayons to our cart. There were some evenings that I wanted her all to myself and, instead, I’d find her on the phone speaking to a parent or nights that she wouldn’t get home until late after helping with a PTA meeting, a school concert, or a Book Fair. That woman…my mother…for lack of a better word, has worked her ass off for 37 years!! Literally overtime x1000! My own love and dedication for children came directly from her.
These individuals that dedicate so much of their lives to our children deserve so much more than gift cards and flowers. I truly wish I could give them each a month long, all expense paid vacation, free from children, whining, and lesson plans; I wish I could give them the world.
So to every teacher that has ever touched our lives and to the ones of our future, thank you! Thank you for caring and loving our babies like your own. Thank you for your time, money, and devotion spent in what I know is a challenging, tedious, thankless career. Thank you for being kind, patient, and welcoming to each of my babies’ strengths, weaknesses, and differences. But most of all, thank you for helping and supporting the growth of a scared and hopeless mommy into a trusting, open-minded, very thankful and appreciative parent. It truly takes a village; I don’t know what we would’ve done without each and every one of you…you’ll always be so much more than teachers to me ❤️