Dear Kindergarten Teacher,
This morning I dropped my son off to you for the first time. He is five. I knew it was coming. I have dreaded this moment for at least four years now. I’ve tried to deny internally that this day was approaching, but denial never stops time from turning does it? I blinked once and there I was, standing at that doorway, dropping my son off for early breakfast for his first day of KINDERGARTEN.
I stood before you vulnerable and full of all sorts of emotions. Tears welled up in my eyes as I looked into your face and recognized the pain you saw in mine. A single tear rolled down my face and I quickly wiped it away. I know you saw it fall. Thank you for changing the subject.
You didn’t know that this morning, my son walked up to me and told me with stars in his eyes, “Today I become a man”. You didn’t know that the excitement his heart had been reeling in for two weeks was breaking mine. You didn’t know that just moments before you saw me that day, my son pulled his hand from mine, turned his head away from mine, looked back at me and said, “I love you, Mama. I love you forebber”.
I’m sure you have seen hundreds and hundreds of parents walk through your door on the first day of school who were an emotional wreck. You’ve probably seen many in worse shape than I was today. Yet there you were, treating me as if my heart were the only one breaking this morning. Thank you for caring enough to take a few seconds from your busy morning to hug me and tell me, “I promise we will take good care of him. You try to enjoy your day”.
You see, I saw your heart in those twenty seconds we shared that morning. This was the heart of his kindergarten teacher. I still remember my kindergarten teacher and I have so much love for her 36 years later. I well know how important you will be to my baby. My own heart warms in the hope of what he will accomplish this year.
It’s important to my husband and I that the people who lead and teach our kids teach them how to do all things in love. Being kind to others is as important to us as is his education. With that single embrace, I was assured this would happen.
You have taught for over twenty years now. You know what you are doing. You know how to handle strong personalities like my son. You know how to embrace his strengths and appreciate them and how to nurture his weaknesses into greatness.
What you don’t know is WHY it was so hard for me to let him go into your arms. You see, you don’t know that I spent twelve years praying, hoping, wishing, and yearning to hold him in my arms. My husband and I spent five long agonizing years actively trying to adopt a child. Five years waiting to look into those dark brown eyes. You don’t know that we went through five failed adoptions before we met his amazing birth mother. Our journey to him was not for the faint of heart.
Yes, it’s very hard for me to let him go. As much as his daddy and I have tried to give him big giant wings, it’s hard for me to watch him use them to soar on his own. Yet I know I must. This is what we have prepared him to do. He has great things to do in this world.
You also do not know that somewhere (not far from here), is another mother. A mother that loved him first. A mother who loved him enough to break her own heart into pieces to give him a different kind of life. She is my hero. She is one of the most beautiful souls I have ever known, and she is not here.
She is missing this day.
When you hugged me this morning, you hugged her also. She may not have known, but I felt her love for that little boy deep in my soul this morning. I know her heart is breaking for other reasons. I kept part of that comfort to give to her.
I’ve held onto him pretty tightly. He saved me, you see. He rescued me. He doesn’t even know how much he has done in his five short years for so many people. He has moved MOUNTAINS.
Thank you for showing me that you will recognize his beauty and embrace it. Thank you for showing me that you will do everything you can do to help him be the best he can be. This is me saying, “I notice”.
I did walk out of that school today with tear-stained cheeks, yes. Some that passed me as I walked down that hallway (WOW is it long when you are trying to run for cover) smiled at me sweetly as if they understood. One elderly woman gently patted me on the back. I’m sure she’s done this once or twice.
This world is big and scary and it’s SO HARD to send your baby out there not knowing if a stranger will see his passion and label him “emotional”; see his spirit and label him “defiant”; and see his silliness as a strength, not a weakness.
Thank you for showing me that you see him just as he was created and for who he will become. I will gladly let him walk through his life with a little of you in his heart.