I just want to take a moment to thank you. I don’t think you hear it enough, and I want to make sure I let you know. You are appreciated.
Every morning, when I drop my daughter off at school, I worry. I worry that she won’t like her lunch. I worry that she’ll get in a fight with her best friend over the *best* dinosaur toy. I worry that she’ll fall off that giant climbing structure that I think she’s too little for, but she climbs to the top of anyway. I worry that she won’t be a good friend, and will hurt a classmate’s feelings.
And often, on days like today, I worry that she won’t come home to me.
But, when we walk into the classroom she runs to you with the excitement usually reserved for Disney Princesses and the person handing out Skittles on Halloween. To her, you are magical. You are her hero.
And you, with eyes wide, and a big smile, feign interest in the random rock she found on the sidewalk when we walked in. Your face scrunches with concern, when she shows you the invisible paper cut she got the day before. You pull her from my leg, and hug her tight on the days she doesn’t want me to leave.
And I don’t worry as much.
I don’t worry as much, because I know you love her. I know you see her as one of your own. I know you will keep her just as safe as I would. If I cannot be there to protect her, I am so glad that you are the one who will.
I know that when you walk into school each day, you have some of the same fears that I have. I also know that those fears are are multiplied by the number of little lives in your care. You worry about each and every one of them. Are they getting what they need? Are they feeling loved, and cared about by their teachers and their classmates? Is there more you can do to help them understand a concept? Are you going to catch this nasty bug that is going around? Is the class hamster sleeping, or…?
I know that after events like what happened in Florida this week, you worry about how you’ll protect all of them in the worst case scenario. And I know you worry about your own children, in their own classrooms, where you cannot protect them. Like me, you put all your trust in their teachers.
And I hate that you have to worry about that.
I hate that I have to worry about it, too. And I really hate that our children have to worry about it. It shouldn’t be this way.
My daughter tells me about the “Villain Drills” she’s had at school.”Villain” is how she refers to anyone she thinks is a bad guy. I asked her what she has to do during these drills. “We all hide by the sink, and stay very quiet. Just in case a villain comes into our school!”
I think of my daughter, my tiny, strong-willed, creative, dinosaur loving little girl, hiding in a closet. It overwhelms me with the kind of emotion there are no words for. And then I think of you.
I asked her, “What do your teachers do when you guys hide?”
“They stand in the doorway and block it so the villains can’t see us.”
I’m overwhelmed with a different type of emotion, this time there is a word for it. Gratitude.
“Oh, wow! What do you think of that?”
“I think my teachers are REALLY brave, they keep us safe from villains!”
She’s right. You are really brave.
I’m sorry that you have to be, but Thank you.