When my son was starting Kindergarten, I vividly remember receiving an email regarding “first day of school teacher gifts.” I also vividly remember being sent over the edge by said email.
I had filled out the bazillion pieces of paper with emergency contact information. I had written my cell number until I was blue in the face. Ascertained every medical record from birth to five. Filled out the “getting to know you” papers. And was beyond overwhelmed by the idea of lunches and allergy rules and which specials happened on which days. I had paid the checks for the yearbook. The apparel. The lunch account. The directory. And the keys to the school. Or at least that’s how it felt.
I was a first-time-giving-my-child-
So I wrote a blog regarding Miss Pinterest’s suggestion of a “first day teacher gift” because I just. Couldn’t. Do. Another. Thing.
I mocked the idea saying, “so now I must not only give this person I’ve never met my child for safekeeping and mind forming but also, give a gift?” I remember talking with my sister, a teacher, and her telling me she was sending a gift with my nephew and I scoffed.
And then. And then we lived Kindergarten and I got it. And then… We lived a year of completely batshit crazy life — sending our kids off to their teachers for some semblance of normal while I went to doctors’ appointments and treatment and had helpers galore with pick ups and check-ins — a year that would have been impossible with so many educators who cared for my children. And I desperately wanted to give these teachers the world. Not just a thank you gift card at the end of the year, not just a little book at Christmas. If I could have sent a thank you with the Oldest every day without being that insane suck-up mom, I would have.
Teachers are not just giving our kids text books to read. They are giving them lessons that can’t be found in between pages 27 and 32 of practice sets. They are caring for them. They are getting to know them. Caring for them long after they go home at night to their own lives. Teachers and the staff at schools are in our children’s presence just as much, if not more than we are. And they know our children in ways we never will. And they continue to get up, go to work, and attempt, each day, even with all the changes in education and in the world, to make the world a better place for our people. That. That is a gift of ever there were one. Isn’t it?
So. As my son heads off to his first day, he will have a small something in tow. Not because I feel like I have to be a Pinterest mom but because I know from past experience that I already have a million reasons to be thankful for his teachers. And a happy little something is my way of giving a hug to these people without getting overly creepy.
To many, it’s just the first day to another year of school. But to our kids, it might just feel like the first day of the rest of their lives. And their teachers are there to make that a reality.
So, to Pinterest, I apologize for hating on you (at least that time). To my sister, I apologize for the scoff. To my kid’s Kindergarten teacher I’m sorry I thought gifts were lame. And to any mom who sees the gift and thinks I’m a kiss ass… Well… Maybe I am.