I'm a highly emotional, but not terribly sentimental person. Milestones always got me excited, but never melancholy. When friends would get weepy about the fact that their little ones were growing up, I was always the voice of encouragement, urging them to think positive. Then it was time to send my oldest to kindergarten and I lost it. How was he going to handle school? Was he going to be OK socially? Academically? Would his teacher know how to teach him? I'm sure there are things every mom wishes she could tell her kid's teacher... and then there was me, who took it to a whole different level.
I view my outsized fear of sending my child to school as partly practical (he was a stubborn child who did not particularly care for authority figures) and partly symbolic. Look, if I stressed out about everything I could stress out about I would have been overwhelmed by fear before the little dude was even born. As a matter of survival, my brain has allowed me to take it day by day and not fixate on particular worries. But sometimes an issue will come up that somehow comes to encapsulate many other issues that worry you (which you are, mercifully, able to sublimate). For me, that was school.
I'm a talker — I process the world around me by communicating with people — so a lot of the things that I wish I could say to my kids' teachers I've actually said in some kind of capacity, because #nofilter. Sometimes, however, I do manage to restrain myself (or at least manage a bit more tact), which is why there's still a list of things I haven't said to my kid's teacher. And in a perfect world I'd be able to say those things, and convey the following:
"My Baby Is An Unique & Precious Flower & I Need You To Understand Them"
OK, I'm exaggerating for effect obviously, but any parent who says they don't feel this even a little bit is a liar. It's not that we want our kids to have special treatment or think that they should be pampered to the detriment of everyone else in the class, but admit it: there's probably at least one or two little things that we really want our kids' educators to understand about them. We want them to know that around 2:00 p.m. they get a little cranky and it's best to just ignore them. We want them to know that they can get easily flustered and need an encouraging word.
We know our children and we want them to be understood. And, of course, when we send them to school we're afraid they won't be.
"Please Take Everything You Hear About Our Home Life With A Grain Of Salt"
Kids should always be taken seriously, but with the knowledge that, often, they are prone to exaggeration. Like, I know my extremely imaginative, dramatic, whimsical children. My daughter legitimately believes I'm an actual fairy tale witch. So before you worry about occult activity in my home or anything just, you know, talk to us first?
"Good Freaking Luck With That One"
Yes, they're unique and sensitive and need tender loving care. They're also a force of nature that none of us can ever hope to withstand so, seriously, you do what you have to do to survive, my friend. It's going to be touch and go, especially if they get hangry.
"I Worry Constantly"
It's not that I don't believe in you or my child, but I worry. I know this is important. I know there are often going to be contending forces at play (ie: what my kid wants versus what is needed of them by the instructor and vice versa). I worry about the challenges. I worry about them rising to the occasion. I worry about them socially. I worry about whether they're happy. Even under good circumstances all these issues are on my mind.
"I Am In Awe Of You"
We ask so much of our teachers. Hell, we ask too much, in my opinion, professionally, emotionally, and physically. (Seriously, how do you hold your pee for that long? I could never.) I want you to know that I see you and I love you and I think you're the bee's knees. I wish I could tell you this in the moments when you most need to hear it, but I hope saying it here will do.
"I Promise I Raised Them Better Than Their Worst Behavior"
I know they can be awful sometimes. Please know that we don't tolerate that crap at my house, but still it happens. I promise, I'm doing everything I can on my end. It's a process.
"The Reading Logs Are Just Guesstimates"
It's not that we don't read! I promise we do! But, like, do we read precisely 20 minutes every night? No. Sometimes it's probably one story that takes 10 minutes. Other days we're on the couch for, like, an hour reading fairy tale after fairy tale. (Or, like, one typical Dr. Seuss story because holy crap why are those things so long?!) And what with the reading log being in my kid's backpack most of the time, I fudge the numbers. It all comes out in the wash and all, but, yeah, it's not particularly accurate.
"I Know What They're Capable Of"
I believe in my child and their abilities. I know they can face a challenge and achieve great things. I am their number one cheerleader, and I need you to be on the squad as well. Believe in them, don't give up on them, stay with us and I promise this kid will blow us all away.
"I *Definitely* Know What They're Capable Of"
The thing about all that limitless potential is that, well, it ain't always pretty. Sometimes they just seem endlessly capable of making things difficult. If this happens (let's face it: when this happens) come to me, because I will believe you and I will have insight on how to make things better.
"I Don't See The Majority Of The Fliers You Send Home"
That's on my kid. They're a hot mess. I'm sorry.
"I Want To Be A Part Of My Child's Education"
I know you can't do this alone. I know it takes a village, as they say, and I know it works best if all the villagers work together.
I want to help you help my child. Sometimes I won't know how to do that and I hope you'll help guide me when I need guidance. Sometimes I won't even know to reach out, and I hope you'll understand that it's not indifference — I just don't always know better. But I promise I'm trying.