Today I left my baby girl in your capable hands. Just yesterday she said her first word and giggled as we tickled her sweet baby toes. As a working mother, I have left her in the capable hands of many caregivers over the years, so this isn’t hard because I will miss her all day, which I will. This is hard because I have worked in public schools for over ten years now and I am scared.
As a school psychologist, I have worked with all the parents – helicopter parents, tiger moms, submarine parents (you know that they are out there lurking somewhere, you just never see them), and everything in between. The angry parents who say the school is not doing what they should. The absent parents who don’t notice that their child has been struggling for years. Well, now I am a public school parent and I don’t know which type I will be. I’d like to be a respectful parent; one who honors your knowledge and expertise as a professional and lets you do your job. I want to be a trusting parent; one who offers up generous assumptions that you will take care of my sweet girl as if she is your own. That you will nurture her and support her and always lift her up so she can learn from her mistakes rather than shrink away from challenges. Will you help her when she is feeling sad or left out? Will you notice whether or not she is making friends and if her classmates are kind? I hope that you will. I need to believe that you will so that I can say goodbye to her every morning, put on a brave face, and pretend it doesn’t break my heart that my sweet baby is growing up and going out into the world without us holding her hand.
I am a school psychologist. I understand that her independent personality will help her soar. She is brave and she is kind and she will do amazing things in your classroom every day. My brain knows that this is true. My heart wants to wrap her up in bubble wrap and carry her around with me wherever I go. Give her constant hugs and love and make sure she never feels sad or lonely or scared. I will try very hard to listen to my brain and notice my heart. My heart is scared but my brain knows it will be o.k.
I’m trusting that she will come home every day in the same condition or better. I know that some days will be hard and that disappointment and frustration will be important teachers. Please remember that if I seem a little overly concerned, it’s only because I have seen some very scary outcomes and it is hard for me to separate the fact that the struggling students who I work with were once happy, eager Kindergartners, too.
Thank you for taking such good care of our girl. Thank you for your patience with her and me. We are putting all our faith in you and hope you can have faith in us. We know you have been tasked with an impossible challenge. Because I work in the schools, I understand what you are being asked to do every day between lesson plans, collaboration, formative and summative assessments, and everything in between. Thank you for showing up with good intentions every day, even when you are tired and overwhelmed. We appreciate you and all that you give to our girl.