Tuesday, September 13, 2016

What I want her Kindergarten teacher to know

I wrote this a couple weeks ago. Since then we've met with her teacher and she's had her first day. I'm proud to report she enjoyed her first day of school and I was more or less able to reign myself in during our meeting. Her teacher told us that his goals are for each student to feel valued, safe and respected. I didn't have much to add after that.

Next week we meet with Anna's Kindergarten teacher before school starts. These meetings are new this year. They want to provide a time for parents and teachers to meet and talk about the student and what the parents hope for their child in their first year in school.

Anna will be in Mr. Zillig's class and the first thing I want to tell him is that I'm sorry he has to have these meetings. I mean, honestly. He has to sit with 25 odd parents and hear how special their kid is and all the ways in which he should cater to them specifically and I'm pretty sure his job is already hard enough.


So there's that.

However, I strive to be a semi-rational being (despite post-partum hormones) so I'm going to go for something in between if I can find the words. How do we begin to tell him about our girl? This nuanced, complex, phenomenal human being? How do we put to words the hopes and worries we have for her as she ventures into the rest of her life? How do we remove our neuroses and baggage and focus on her? It's a tall order, and there will always be more I will want to tell him if only I could find the words or had the nerve.

But for now, this is what I want to say:

Our greatest hope for Anna this year has nothing to do with reading and writing. Our biggest wish is simply this: that she will be seen, that she will be known, that she will be safe.

We want her to be seen. Simply to be seen. Not lost in the shuffle or overlooked because she is compliant and well behaved. We want her to be noticed. Please try to see her.

We want her to be known. We want her to be known in the ways that she will reveal herself to you, to us, to the world as she continues to grow and learn. We want her to be validated and encouraged and challenged. We hope she will be known for who she truly is, and not who you think she will be, nor whom we have described her to be, but who she is. Please try to get to know her.

We want her to be safe. I worry for her physical safety and I long for her emotional security. We hope for a safe place to be herself - to feel her big feelings, to share her huge heart, to bear her vulnerable self when she so chooses. We want her to feel safe to learn and question and push her boundaries. Please try to keep her safe.

She's a girl filled with emotions so big and so strong and so powerful. Her compassion, empathy and passion are her guiding light, and they are her achilles heel. She is deeply thoughtful and caring, affectionate and loyal. She is keenly sensitive and empathetic. She is an observer and takes her time, makes up her own mind and commits to something with no less than 100% devotion, persistence and dedication. She is determined to the point of obstinance and frustrated so very easily. So easily. She demands perfection of herself and will either give up in a fit of frustration or work tirelessly till she accomplishes her goal. She is not thick skinned, but will put up with any amount of blood and pain and sweat if, and only if, it's her decision. She's a leader, but not a loud one. She's a team player yet she's fiercely competitive. She cares about everyone and everything and feels the pain of all around her. Chances are she will do well in school. She is social, self-sufficient, craves structure and order and simply LOVES to learn.

She will light up the classroom with that smile of hers and she could set the world on fire with all the love she has inside.

She's a million things all at once. And she's our baby girl.

And so that is our loftiest hope - that you might see her, know her and keep her safe.