"If there were no schools to take the children away from home part of the time, the insane asylums would be filled with mothers." -Edgar W. Howe
Spring break (and winter and summer, and the average weekend for that matter) always gives me a new appreciation for teachers. Over the course of our most recent 9-day break, I realized that I would rather be sitting in a middle class seat, in coach, on a 15-hour nonstop flight to Cairo than spend nearly two weeks at home with both children. As the image of this wondrous flight lingered in my brain, I began searching Expedia for hot deals.
Today is National Teacher Appreciation Day, and after the recent school vacation, I am feeling an extremely strong desire to thank the preschool teachers in my life. Below is a letter I drafted to the teachers at my daughters' preschool. However, I feel that it is pretty universal. Please feel free to copy, paste and change the underlined text so that you can send a nice note to the teacher/school that is keeping you from the nearest inpatient psychiatric facility.
To the amazingly patient staff at Gan Noe Preschool:
Although there are many people that love my children, the care and affection that you bring to each of them is beyond words. However, since I am too lazy to drag both the girls out of the house and into their car seats to drive a mile to the flower store (where they will inevitably beg for me to buy them their own in purple or pink), I thought that I would give words a try.
Thank you for always smiling and offering a hug when Maisy walks in the door. You make her feel welcomed, loved and safe (especially on days when Mommy is feeling irritable and just wants a child-free latte).
Thank you for appropriately oohing and aahing over each dress Elana proudly adorns for school. Because you do this, Elana eagerly dresses herself each morning in a variety of patterns and colors in anticipation of your joyous reaction. (Seriously, I am not the one pairing rainbow flowered leggings with a red and white candy-cane Christmas dress to our Jewish preschool.)
Similarly, thank you for not judging me when Maisy arrives wearing last night's pajamas. I know that there are yogurt stains on the sleeves and that it can be an arduous task trying to fit her tiny toddler shoes over the fleece footies, but you never complain. In fact, your eyes never hesitate in expressing just pure happiness in her entrance -- is it the contacts?
Thank you for providing a safe, contained place for both girls to play with paint, glitter, beads and glue. Because you do this, I have an excuse to say "no" when they ask to make use of our own art supplies after I spent the morning cleaning the house.
Thank you for allowing Maisy to proudly sing her "favorite" Top 40 radio song, repeatedly. Yes, I know that she is completely off-tune, and that she often mixes up the words (I expect that "Set fire to the range" is a remark on my cooking ability), but you somehow manage to appear excited to hear Katy Perry's latest for the fourteenth time that morning.
Thank you for teaching Elana all about the solar system. Because she learned that "Saturn has those icy rings" and "Uranus spins on its side", my husband and I were able to take a much-needed break from reading the daunting Rainbow Magic Fairy series, while Elana requested books about stars and planets for a few precious weeks.
Thank you for never turning on the television. I know that there are days that you are absolutely knackered, and the last thing you want to do is manage twelve 3 and 4-year-old children running amok around a small enclosed space threatening to dump every bin of toys onto the train-track rug. Still, you never throw your hands in the air and sit them all in front of Dora. Because you don't do this, I feel less guilty when I do.
Thank you for providing a variety of gender-neutral toys for my daughters to play with. Because you offer them the opportunity to engage in car, bug and superhero play, I am less disgusted that Maisy's room looks like the Disney Princess aisle at Target.
Thank you for telling me that "it is just a normal phase," when Maisy began hitting her classmates. While part of me knew that this, as with all things in childhood, was just another stage, a larger portion of me was truly worried that I was raising a child that would one day turn my basement into a meth lab. However, you were right, it was just a phase. I am now more confident that she will stick to making bootleg liquor in abandoned bathtubs.
Thank you also for always being available to answer Elana's inexhaustible questions. "How are caves made?" "Is Saturn wider than Jupiter if you count the rings?" "Why is it hotter in Miami than San Francisco if they have the same sun?" "What does 'the one that got away' mean?" Yes, of course I could take the time and energy to try to explain the answers in terms a 4-year-old will understand, but you just do it so well! (And, I am sort of tired of talking to the kids.)
But most importantly, thank you for loving my children between the hours of 8:45 to 12:45. Because you do this, I can love them a little more the rest of the day.
Thank you, a thousand times, thank you!
Elana and Maisy's exhausted, but ever-so-grateful, mother