Dear Kindergarten Mama,
I bet you’ve been having some late nights recently, nights where you are dead tired but can’t seem to shut off your brain. Nights where you lay awake, sleepless. Nights during which nothing seems to calm or sooth your worrying mind. Well, mama, rest assured, you are not alone. For each night that you sit awake, flooded with fears, I am sitting awake in my bed doing the same. I too am tossing and turning, filled with anxiety**. (**two nights ago that anxiety took shape in the form of a very realistic and vivid nightmare about head lice)
You worry about your baby who is heading off to school for the very first time. You worry about new friends, overwhelming curriculum, school lunches, exposure to new ideas, and the unknown. You also sure do worry about that teacher. You read in the introduction letter that this is her very first year teaching. HOW ON EARTH COULD THIS 23 YEAR OLD BE RESPONSIBLE FOR 26 LITTLE HUMANS?! WHO IS ALLOWING THIS? WHAT DOES SHE KNOW? How I wish I could give you a hug. I would squeeze you tight and assure you that what I lack in experience I more than make up in enthusiasm and snacks.
But I have worries too. I’m already worrying about your child. I worry about if they get hugs at home, or if I will be the only one. I worry about if they have a person to make sure their tummies are full in the morning before they begin their long day. I worry about if your child knows the beauty of sitting on a parent’s lap while they read aloud a story. I worry about providing for the needs of each and every student. I worry about being enough for them every single day.
There are so many things I can worry about, so many things beyond the realm of my control. Instead, I’ve decided to focus on the things I can control. There are many aspects of school that are in my power. This is why I make these promises to you. I promise to be the hand your child holds in the hallway, for even though they are “big”, they are still oh-so little. I promise to guide with a gentle heart, remembering that, in the times when we are least deserving of love, we often need it the most. I promise to be a listening ear for their troubles and concerns, as trivial or monumental as they may be. I promise to giggle and dance to songs when we all need a little break. I promise to be a smiling face that provides comfort during the times that school gets tough and tricky. I promise to make your child feel special and included every single day.
Finally, I promise that as you drive away on that very first morning, though you may shed a few tears, you can have peace in your heart with the knowledge that, in your absence, I will love your child fiercely, because, during the school day, they are mine too.