A Thank You to Her Teacher


And just like that, today is the last day. Nine months ago I was packing her back pack with brand new school supplies, wondering how I was going to send her off to kindergarten. I stood on the playground, tears pouring down my face because I wasn’t ready for this first day of kindergarten – but she was ready. Today I will be standing on the playground, once again with tears, because this precious time went by too quickly. There were a thousand things she absolutely loved about kindergarten, but I know her favorite part (and my favorite part) was you. This week I realized that I never told you “thank you.” I don’t know how a parent can in the way a teacher deserves.

We first met you at open house the week before school started and I immediately knew you would be the type of teacher we would appreciate forever. It was during the first week of school when I started to understand just how amazing you are. While the students lined up for the day, you touched each one on the shoulder as you greeted them. Every single day. You noticed the anxious ones, the sad ones, and the ones who just weren’t acting like themselves. Somehow, already in the first couple of days, you just knew. If a student was having a tough morning, you quietly held her hand and walked her into the school hand-in-hand with you.

I got to know you as I volunteered in the lunch room. You, as well as the other kindergarten teachers, made sure your students were all ready for lunch before you went on your own lunch break, which had already started. You noticed who needed help with their ketchup packets and who forgot a spoon. I got to know you as I “volunteered” in the classroom, which we both know meant I was just a body in the room, you had it all handled. You let me be in there for me, not for you. Your baby would be moving on to middle school this year so you understood how quickly these days would go. You had a classroom of 24 kindergartners and never once did I hear you raise your voice. Never. Once. When you needed their attention, you tapped these chimes that worked like magic. Your class was not an easy one, but you sure made it look that way.

The one morning I forgot to pack a drink in her lunch, you helped her order a milk. You checked on her when she went home sick. You remembered the weekend she had a dance recital. You had 24 students and took the time to really know them. You kept track of their big things and their small things, because as a veteran kindergarten teacher, you know that the small things are the big things. I saw the way you listened, and I mean truly listened, every time your students had something to tell you. They always had so much – and I mean so much – to share with you. I loved the way you valued what they had to say. Maybe they were telling you about a weekend event or maybe they were telling you that “mom” has an “m” in it, either way their faces lit up and you knew what they had to say mattered to them, therefore, it mattered to you. I loved the way you made each and every one of your students feel so special. Being chosen as your helper was the ultimate honor for them. Somehow in the midst of all that you did for them, you also taught them. They learned how to read and they learned how to add. You helped them fall in love with school which is so crucial at the start.

I wish we could take you with us to the next 12 grades. I’ve had the entire school year to try to think of a way to thank you for what you did for those 24 kindergartners this year – and I still don’t have the words.

On the first day I had to hand her to the world, I thank God it was you that I could hand her to. I thank God that you were there for her – and for me – this year.

To all of the teachers in the world who are like you, I wish you knew how grateful parents are for you. We are in awe of what you do. We adore you, respect you, and appreciate you. We are so incredibly grateful for your influence. We don’t tell you enough – we probably don’t tell you ever. You’ll never fully know the impact you made on your families. Thank you for this year. Thank you for being a teacher we will remember forever.

For the Stepdad We Love

It’s hard to find the words to thank you. I’m in awe of you and yet I don’t think you understand it. How can I put into words how essential your role is in our world?

I have observed the way stepdads don’t get the credit they deserve. While I always admired the men who are willing to step in, I never truly understood it until you were here for us. I didn’t understand this kind of love until you arrived in our world and promised the girls and me that you were here to stay. You promised us you would love us through the good and the bad. You promised my girls that you’d love their mom forever. I heard you one night, whisper to them that although you love their mommy more than anything, you love them more.


Sometimes I feel like “step” in front of dad somehow lessons the meaning of dad but how I wish it wouldn’t. You’re not trying to b­­­e their dad or replace anyone, you’re just here to love us. How lucky they are to have this person in their lives who shows them unconditional love and means it. For us, stepdad is the man who decorates for epic Halloween parties and let us get our first kitten, despite your allergies. Stepdad is the man who can build or fix anything for us and is the first to sign up to coach a team. Stepdad is the man who has never missed a Christmas program or an awards night, not once. They always ask you repeatedly if you’ll make it to these events, even though we all know you’ll be there- because you always do whatever it takes to make sure you are. You wouldn’t miss it. They start to smile before their name is called at an awards ceremony, because they know their stepdad will be whistling that deafening whistle. You’re the man who gets volunteered for far more than your share because you’re the one who goes above and beyond for those he loves.

When I tell you ‘thank you’ after a dinner out, it’s not just because you picked up the tab. It’s because you took us somewhere that wasn’t one of your top picks, but you knew they loved it. It’s because rather than ordering something you would’ve preferred, you ordered something you knew they would want to try. When I tell you ‘thank you’, I hope you realize it means thank you for being here. Thank you for all of this.

I especially appreciate you on those quiet nights when it’s just the two of us. Those are the nights I’m crabby and sad. You know how I can’t stand a quiet house. You know how much I miss them. You know every suggestion you offer will be met with resistance, but you still try. There are nights when you might be on the receiving end of my anger and frustration, over situations that are no fault of your own, but you still try.

Parenting is hard. I can’t imagine what it’s like to walk into it overnight. I can’t imagine what it’s like to not have much say in most things. I just wish you could see how incredible you are at it. I wish you could see how they proudly talk about all of the things you do with them to their friends. I wish you knew how much I admired you and respected you. I hope you understand that by me choosing you, it meant I chose you to help me raise these little people I love beyond comprehension. It meant I entrusted you with what is most important to me.

I see you and I love you. I see all you do for us day in and day out. When you chose me, you chose all three of us. Our family vacations revolve around American Girl doll stores and zoos, nothing you have any interest in, but you’re the first dad there when the doors open. You have missed opening day of hunting season to do whatever two little girls needed you to do.

It is your actions they quietly observe when you kiss me on the forehead or hold the door open for us. It is you who treats their mom like a queen and it is you whose same characteristics they will look for someday in a partner.

I know they always want to sit by me at dinner or join “team Mom” in any disagreement, but I wish you could see the way they talk about you when you aren’t there. I wish you saw that they ask where you are when I pick them up or how excited they are to tell you the latest about their school day. I know you’re not their dad, but you are someone that has earned our deepest respect. We know you weren’t there when they were born, but you’re here now because you chose to be. There’s something about being in our family now, by choice, which speaks volumes.

I didn’t know my story would have a sequel, and I can’t imagine writing it with anyone else.