Tomorrow will be Jane’s last day of Pre-K 1 at St. George’s. I find that my emotions towards the start and end points in the school year have not changed much since I was a little girl. I approach the start of a new school year with the kind of excitement and enthusiasm that keeps you up at night. A whole new year brings with it feelings of hope and possibilty. There is a sense of newness that always seems palpable to me. In contrast, the end of the year seems more meloncholy. There’s a sense of uncertainty about what will come next that always strikes me as somewhat sad. I very well may have been the only child in my kindergarten class who spent the night of my graduation crying myself to sleep because I wanted Miss Jean to be my teacher forever and knew that I had to move on without her.
And as we near the end of Jane’s Pre-K 1 road, I can’t help but think that I very well may spend tomorrow night crying myself to sleep wishing that Miss Kruse and Miss Eliza could be her teachers forever. You see, I knew that leaving Jane at school to go to work would be emotional. It is for every parent. What I did not expect was that the emotions of fear, anxiety and guilt would be quickly quieted by the feelings of love, admiration and utter appreciation for the teachers who spend their days with my child. There is nothing like the feeling of comfort you get when you know that your most precious gift is being loved by someone in the way that you would love them should you be able to spend your days together.
When we first dropped Jane off at St. George’s in November of 2012, she was a bald headed baby who could not walk and who could not talk. She was a stranger to the teacher in whose arms we left her. Yet, it was apparent that the teachers there (and I imagine everywhere) had never met a stranger – only a child for whom they have an infinite capacity to love and teach.
I often feel that parenting can be a lonely place. There is no measuring stick for your success; there is no grade at the end of the term to tell you that you are on your way to a bright future. The good thing is that we are rarely in it alone. And, more often that not, our childrens’ teachers become ours as well. They are who we go to when we don’t know if it’s normal to have a child that isn’t talking yet or who doesn’t eat carrots or who wants to use the big kid potty but only on Tuesdays. They tell us that it’s normal not to have all of the answers, but they most often come up with the very tip that solves your most critical parenting problem.
They are our partners in this journey of raising empathetic, confident and resilient children. And so with the end of each school year that passes, I find myself misty eyed at the thought of being without them in the next stage of Jane’s journey.
And I hope they know that with every place Jane will go, so will they. They are a part of her just as we are. Their love and guidance has laid the foundation of the woman she will one day become. So that she will not forget them, we have asked each of them to sign her copy of the great Dr. Seuss’s “Oh the Places You Will Go.” It will be our parting gift to her on the day that she leaves for college. It will be our way of remembering just how great her journey has been and all of the people who were a part of it.
I would like to add a special note of thanks to Emma Whitman who has served as the pre-school director since the day we were first introduced to St. George’s. Miss Emma, you have taught us more about parenting than you will ever know. We will forever be grateful for having known you and knowing just how much you care about each and every student who has crossed the threshold at St. George’s.