I went back and forth about whether to post anything about the first anniversary of the Newtown school shootings … an event that shook most parents, like me, to the core. Truthfully, I still can’t bear to think about that tragic day, even now, because when I do, the sorrow and pain and heartbreak and grief and — yes — the fear is so completely overwhelming.
I know so much will be said and written over the next few days about this senseless tragedy, so rather than adding another voice to the din, I realized what I really wanted to say — and the way that I feel — is still represented by the post I wrote last year, just days after the shooting took place.
So for those of you who recall this post, I apologize for the repetition, but I hope you’ll still join me in thanking a teacher today, whether it’s a handwritten note for your child’s teacher or an email to a former mentor or a post on your Facebook page. I still firmly believe they are our unsung heroes.
An Open Letter to My Children’s Teachers
(Originally posted on Keeping Mommy Sane on Dec. 17, 2012; edited on Dec. 13, 2013)
The events of last December presented parents like me with the sobering and incomprehensible reality that when we send our children to school in the morning – lunches packed, backpacks perched perilously on their backs, one fleeting hug before they scurry on to the bus – that it might be the last time we ever see them, that they might never return home. The thought is truthfully too horrific to imagine.
Although I am still reeling from what happened — and feeling outraged at so many things (the lack of gun control in this country, the indisputable need for more widespread mental health services for the millions of troubled adolescents who need care, but don’t receive it) – I want to stop and say thank you.
And not just to you, but also to the aides and school administrators and guidance counselors and librarians and custodians and bus drivers and everyone else who cares for and keeps a watchful eye on my kids during the school day.
Thank you for your hard work and the sacrifices that you make, not because you’re looking for accolades, but because you simply loveteaching. Thank you for using your free time to stay after school to help with homework or advise the drama club or just lend an ear to a troubled student. Thank you for protecting and loving my children when I cannot be with them. Thank you for helping them grow, for challenging and motivating and inspiring them. Thank you for keeping them safe.