Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Dear Kindergarten Teacher

Dear Mrs. Kindergarten Teacher,

I find it necessary to pre-explain the upcoming year for Zoey.  I think you need to have a full understanding of who this sweet child is and why this common occurrence (you know, going to school) has her mother acting like a crazy person.  I fully realize that this isn't something special.  Thousands of parents drop their sweet, baby-faced children off for their first day of school.  But for me, this first year of school is a huge deal and it is complicated and messy. 

Zoey at Kindergarten Round Up

Zoey is special.  Yes, I realize ALL children are special.  And I love all of my children and adore them and their first year of school was just as dramatic and traumatic for me.  I have issues...another letter for another time.  Zoey is our bonus baby.  She is either our "you are doing a great job with this parenting thing so here is one more for you" or "oh boy do you need a do-over so please don't screw this one up too".  Zoey is the only child in our home who still thinks her mommy is beautiful, perfect, and can do no wrong.  The other kids have my number and their eye rolling or blank stare full of judgment and silent thoughts is in full force.  But Zoey will still crawl up into my lap.  She still tells me a hundred times a day that she loves me.  I know that I am still her person.  I also know that school was created to ruin that for me.  (Sarcasm...maybe...)

Our Bonus Baby, Zoey Makenna Grace

Zoey has not been in MDO programs or preschool.  Ok there was a 3 month stint when she was 3.  She broke her leg and we pulled her out in November and she never returned.  I "homeschooled" her at home.  I use quotes because it wasn't super structured once Scottie went back to school.  She is super smart.  Super social.  Loves people,  She is freakishly good with numbers.  She knows her letters, sounds, numbers, colors and shapes.  She can count to 15 in Spanish and plays a mean game of "I Spy" in Español.  She cannot read.  Not sure how I failed in this particular area, but I did.  So learning to read is high on her priorities, so we greatly appreciate your help in this area.  Zoey doesn't know the words to Old MacDonald, but she does a mean lip sync to Meghan Trainor. 

Zoey is funny.  She is quick-witted and can make us laugh.  I could write a book about the funny things she has said or done, publish it, and make enough money to pay for her college one day.  She will most likely be extremely inappropriate.  I am sorry...ok, kind of sorry.  You see she is the youngest of 4.  Her audience is numerous and mature.  Her 17 year old brother and 15 year old sister have given her quite a bit of  comedic material.  She will most likely say penis and vagina.  I don't have time or energy to make up cute names.  It is what it is. 

Zoey and her sisters, Scottie and Emma Grace

Zoey will talk too much, too loud, and be super sassy.  She is kind and sweet and will make a good friend.  She knows what it is like to have someone in her life with learning differences and she is patient, caring, nurturing and so very accepting. 

Zoey's father is a "master" (pastor) at our church.  Please don't judge her or us by his occupation.  She will most likely tell someone the story of Jesus' death and resurrection, but she will embellish and add to the story.  With the older kids, I would have corrected her, but now I have decided that creative story telling is a gift.  It is totally a gifted and talented trait, right?

Speaking of "master", there are several words that Zoey says incorrectly.  I know I should correct her, but the truth is that I think organized should be n'organized.  Why change Zoey's word when it is in fact the best word.  Don't think we didn't notice the words.  We noticed.  We just liked Zoey's language better.

We are old parents.  I am no longer the energetic, super involved 29 year old I was with Jacob.  I am old.  Tired.  Busy.  When I cannot show up to something and there are other moms there, please do not judge me when my friend Jennifer shows up in my place.  I have learned with my old age that the only way to do this parenting thing is to have a village, and well she is my village. 

I detest homework.  Too many years of watching it suck my family time away.  I cannot stand it, but we will do it. 

I will encourage my girl to have a good day, to be brave, to work hard, but above all to be kind.  I will always tell her that how she treats others is the thing that will make me most proud and not if she can stay on green all day for not talking.  Her spirit and being a light to everyone around her is more important than finishing first and making the highest grades. 

When I drop Zoey off at school on Monday, I will not be excited.  I will smile and take her picture, but I will not be excited.  You see, Zoey going to Kindergarten is happening at the same time that my first baby, Jacob, begins his senior year.  No one should have a senior and a kindergartener.  It is just too much for my heart to take.  I remember stalking my Jacob the first week of school.   I would park my car with Emma Grace and Scottie buckled in the back watching a movie.  I would watch him walk around at recess all alone.  I just wanted to rescue him and take him home. 

As Zoey has all of these firsts, Jacob will have all of his lasts.  (Ugh and all of his new adult firsts.)

As Zoey prepares for elementary school and learns to read and write, Jacob will continue to become independent and prepare to leave our home.  As Zoey makes first friends, Jacob will be applying for college and choosing roommates. 

Jacob and Zoey
I am so sorry Mrs. Kindergarten Teacher.  I know that your job is to teach and serve your 22 students.  I know that each student has a unique story.  I know that the world does not revolve around Zoey, but for this mom the world does revolve around her kids.  Forgive me for the emails I will send.  Forgive me for forgetting to send forms back signed.  Forgive me for not volunteering 15 hours a week.  It isn't because I don't care about my child's education, but rather because I care too much about lots of people.

If you aren't sure who I am on the first day, I am the old mom whose old husband will be prying my old, wrinkled hands off of my sweet daughter's arms.  I will be the one who looks panicked and sad.  I will be the one whose daughter will pet my head and tell me that it is "ok silly mommy.  I have to grow up some time and I will still love you the most, but I need to learn now."  (Yes, Zoey is well adjusted and normal and excited about school...gag!)  I will not be high fiving the other moms celebrating the freedom gained when the kids are in school.  I will slowly walk out the room, looking over my shoulder to make sure that Zoey looks happy and confident.  I will check my phone and read a text sent to me from Emma Grace making fun of me and my melodramatic antics.

Oh how I hope you enjoy our Zoey.  She is loved so much by her family and our "village".  We get her.  Enjoy her.  I hope you enjoy her as well.  Zoey is going to change the world!


Zoey's Mom

P.S. Did I mention that I already kept her home a year longer than she had to because I really don't EVER want her to go to school???

Shine BRIGHT my sweet girl!


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