being a teacher, being me

To My Almost 2nd Grade Daughter

To my almost 2nd grade daughter,

For the past 2 school years, it’s been you and I every morning.  I have laid awake for just a few moments in the dark, 5:30 AM, and waited for the courage to wake you up, knowing that mornings do not come easy for you.  Together we have danced a delicate morning dance; hot cocoa, even in the warm months, and a guessing game of what to have for breakfast.

Some mornings you have told me stories.  Other mornings I have sent you back to your room to find the good mood that seemed to have gotten lost.  By 6:25 AM, we have gotten in our car, laden with backpacks and books,  and driven toward school together.  In kindergarten there was mostly silence.  You are not a morning person and so you sat behind me figuring out your world.  Once in a while a question would float through the air; why is the sky pink, mom?  Why do you talk to your mom every day, mom?  Why do I have to go to school, I know everything already, mom?  There were days we would argue, other days you would share these stories that could only have come from your imagination and I was awed of your genius.

1st grade started and you seemed to have stretched even more.  You didn’t really look like a 1st grader and yet, you were so nervous.  Will my teacher like me, mom?  Will I have friends?  And I drove you quietly every morning trying to let you know that yes, your teacher would like you, and yes, you would have friends.  That this would be the year that you would conquer numbers, that this would be the year you would conquer reading. And you believed me.

We would pull into school and you would make a drawing for me and hide it in my classroom.  “I love you Mom,” it would say somewhere for me to find.  You would leave notes for my students, small surprises.  Tell them to have a great day.  And every day, my phone alarm would go off and down we would walk to get you on the right bus so you could go to your amazing school and see the teacher that loves you and the friends that you have made.  And every day, I told you “Jeg elsker dig” as you got on that bus and drove away from me.  Most days you said it right back.

Tomorrow, we drive together for the last time.  Daddy’s rationale mind finally convinced me that it didn’t make sense for you to get up so early just to come with me.  That there are many great schools where we live and that it would make our days easier.  But maybe I don’t want easy.  Maybe I am not so sure that I want to drive alone every day.  Maybe my mind tells me that it all makes sense but my heart breaks just a little.  Because every day it was you and me watching the world.  Hours of listening to Harry Potter – we will finish book 5 tomorrow – and weaving the threads of our lives together.  That time we had was just for us and now, after tomorrow, I will have to wait just like the rest of the world until I get home to hear about your day.

So Thea, I will miss you.  I will miss our early mornings trying to tiptoe around so as not to wake up your siblings.  I will miss your demands for more marshmallows.  For only a tight ponytail and leggings.  Your indecisiveness when it comes to food.  Our hurried rush out the door and the quiet that followed.  How you would yell at me if I don’t turn on the book right away.  How you would pass me a blanket when you knew I was cold.  Your made up songs and your one final hug before the bus came.

Every day as a parent, it seems like we say goodbye to bits of our children, fore when they return they come back a little bit different.  A little bit older.  A little bit more independent.  As it should be.  But it is hard to let go, change, to see our precious little ones venture forth into a new world.  One that doesn’t involve me and you and our kitchen and our car and our goodbyes every morning at the front of my school.

And yet, you told me tonight that you are so ready for 2nd grade.  You cannot wait to go to your new school.  To meet new people.  To try new things and to read chapter books.  You started to walk away and then you said, “…but on that first day, I would really like if you could just drive me and then walk me in.  That would be great, Mom.”

That would be great, Thea.  That would be great…





7 thoughts on “To My Almost 2nd Grade Daughter”

  1. This is so beautiful Pernille! I drove my son to Kindergaten 20 miles from our hometown to be near me on my school. I totally get how special bonding in the car is – the stories, the books, the giggles, the rough or quiet mornings. Change is hard, and lonely at first, but it does make us stronger. My son is now married and has a child of his own. So many changes have occurred, but he still writes stories that I love to read. Hugs!

  2. From a dad who shared those experiences with both daughters until my youngest was a freshman in high school, they meant the world to me. It was a blessing and curse, taking them with me each day, but when it stopped happening, the drive got a lot more lonely. The silly things we did, the songs we sang, all it just comes rushing back in your post. As my oldest daughter readies herself for college, we still share some of those silly memories. They grow older, but they remember, as will you.

  3. That was lovely! I have walked my son to school everyday and I love our alone time. Next year he will be in 5th grade and I hope he still wants his mom to walk him. He comes up with the best questions and I actually think wisdom on life! He helps me remember to slow down and cherish the little moments. Enjoy and have a fantastic summer together!

  4. So lovely! Alone time with our kids is so precious. What a sweet story and a reminder of days that I used to share with my own kids when they were younger. Thanks for sharing.

  5. My son rode with me to my school from Kindergarten through 5th grade. We then switched him to our neighborhood middle school. I, too, reveled in those morning and afternoon commutes, as well as the time together in my classroom before and after the school day. He’s headed to college in a couple months, and I’ll miss him even more! But I’ll always remember the time we spent together singing and chatting and having wild silly conversations. Wouldn’t trade that for the world!

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