Dear Teacher,

When we walked into your classroom nine months ago, the kids were younger. I was younger. 

We were younger.

That first day, they brought more than crayons, and markers, and index cards, and wide-ruled paper. They brought dreams and hopes and future goals, neatly packaged into a 12" x 12" crate lined up against a wall.

Every morning since that first morning, I passed my human batons to you in the marathon of youth, and each afternoon, you'd pass them back. Smarter. Wiser. Taller. Full of stories of what they'd learned, how you'd stretched them, protected them, and pushed them just a little harder than they would have pushed themselves.

It was never the lesson plan that made them love you.

It was you.

How you believed in them. How you never gave up. How you laughed at their jokes, even when they'd already said them 10 times before. How you tossed last year's teacher recommendations out the window, and started fresh with a clean slate, determined to let only patience and the investment of time form your opinions of them. How you gave them ice cream money one ice cream Friday because they were the only kids to leave theirs at home, and how you forced them to believe in themselves as much as you believed in them. 

And how you did these things for not just my child, but for all of them. For ALL. OF. THEM.

The lessons you've taught them - life lessons - will stick with them long after they walk out the door of your classroom this year. I know, because I can hear them playing in their rooms, repeating your classroom rules hours after the school bell has rung. Lessons of patience, kindness, structure, and self-discipline.

When summer is over and the new school year begins, they won't realize that they're tapping into the knowledge you've fed them the previous year, but I'll know. And their new teacher will know, as she stands each morning, ready to grab that baton and run as far as she can. 

We may not have agreed on every little detail of their year, but one thing is clear. There's no one else I would rather have shared my batons with. 

I'm so thankful it was you. 

With forever love,

Mom