Wednesday, May 6, 2020

A Heartfelt THANK YOU!

‘A good teacher is like a candle – it consumes itself to light the way for others.’ 

–Mustafa Kemal Atatürk

They say it takes a village to raise your littles and that couldn't be more true!

This week is Teachers Appreciation Week and I know we're all giggling about how we've all taken on the role of teacher during this time of change, but the truth is - we would be pulling out all our hair right now if it weren't for the fact that the teachers in their lives have spent the past several months building the groundwork and foundation for distance learning to even be a possibility. 

Teachers are all around us, even in some uncharacteristic ways. From school educators to ballet instructors, soccer coaches to Sunday school leaders - teachers are everywhere and impacting our littles in so many ways. I don't know about you, but there were teachers in my life that still impact my day to day and how much I've achieved thus far. They made me into the "good woman" I am now and I was honored to learn from them and continue learning from them to this day (Hi Mrs. Sigsworth and Ms. Hansen!)

This week is normally one where we get to shower our special instructors with homemade cards and treats baked with love, but since we're all staying safe at home - we wanted to shout from the rooftop how much we love all the teachers in Tots life and how much of an impact they've made, even during this time away. 

From the bottom of our hearts - we thank you for molding our little girl into the confident, graceful, kind person she is! 

VAA Teachers & Staff

When we first decided to move Tot to a new school, it was literally 4 days before the school year was slated to kick off. We knew she needed a change and craved structure that was a bit different than what she was receiving. With so many life changes being thrown her way (new baby brother en route, Mama traveling for work a TON), we needed something consistent for her and decided relocating to a new private Christian school was the right path - we were just a little behind in making the switch, and were nervous to say the least. 

Even just thinking about how thankful we are for VAA and the staff there just brings me to tears (for real - whenever she tells me she misses school, I cry because I know she truly does..). 

Our little girl has blossomed into this beautiful soul this year and that is because each and every one of you. From the grace you've shown her during the transition, to spending the time to get to know what makes her glow and focusing on that - you've gone above and beyond for our family this year. She's excited to worship the Lord every day and can't wait to show me everything she completes at school, and it's a LOT. Her classroom has become her oasis and the love you surround her with she replicates here at home with her family and friends. When Charlie was in the hospital, you spent every day listening to her little heart ache and pray with her when she didn't quite understand it all. She was able to bounce through that because of the staff at VAA and the concrete support structure they provide for her. 

With distance learning, you didn't take a second to even doubt next steps. You set up platforms for our littles and daily videos you record from your home to continue her education (the alphabet hunts are our favorite). From weekly chapel we stream in our living room to music class, her schedule hasn't changed because of all the extra work you put in. Every day, she prays for the germs to go away so she can go back to her favorite place - school, and we're so blessed to have found an extra family for her to love and to love her back just as hard. 

Mrs. Linares, Ms. Magda, Ms. O, Ms. Michaela, Mrs. P, and Ms. C - you have changed our little girl into the best version of herself and the joy she shares with others is because of YOU. Thank you! 

Bella Ballerina Staff 

When we first moved here, I wanted to put Tot into an extra-curricular so she could really get to know others. And, selfishly - I wanted to meet other Mama's too. We walked into Bella Ballerina and they immediately showered her with love and affection as if she had been there for years. She's grown up within those four walls with the teachers providing her with additional support outside of the stereotypical classroom. They love on her, support her, keep her smiling during the tough stuff and teach her skill sets beyond academic learning that she'll carry for life. 

During this safe at home period, they've risen to the challenge and found new and innovative ways to keep our littles engaged in physical activity through dance and creative outlets with their classes. 

I'll never forget Tot's first recital a year ago where we were all pretty confident she would be too nervous to dance. She was so scared to practice the dance during class and cried her way through rehearsal. But, Ms. Jen was confident our little girl could do it and encouraged her over and over and over again to show us her smile on stage. She stepped onto that MASSIVE stage and wow'ed us. I'm not sure who cried more, me or Ms. Jen - the performance was worth every hour spent getting her to break out of her shell and now, we can't stop her from begging to dance on the big stage. She's a pro now and that's because of the support the BB staff showed her. 
They even visited our little one this weekend for her birthday and told her how much they loved her from afar. Every student is cared for in such a special way and I can't thank the staff enough for the imprint they continue to leave on our sweet tiny dancer. 

Ms. Z, Ms. Gabby, Ms. Meghan, Ms. Jen, and Ms. Ebbony - we cherish you all! 

Lifelong Teachers 

You know those teachers who cherish your littles so much they leave a lasting impression? Tot has been so blessed to have a few of those in her life and she's even more lucky that she gets to still be blessed by their love each and every day.

I couldn't say thank you to teachers without saying thank you to Ms. K. You were Tot's first teacher post-move and her little toddler brain was trying to understand it all, you and Ms. M. stepped in and loved her so fiercely - Tot couldn't help but adjust to her new surroundings. The tears - oh the tears, this little girl cried for so long post-move, we questioned if we did the right thing in leaving California. Ms. K didn't care and just crushed her with grace and hugs until the tears dried and the giggles started. 

You taught her to use the potty (let's be real - there was no way she was going poop in the potty until you stepped in), and to this day - whenever she does something she's so over the top proud of, she tells me she can't wait to tell Ms. K. You taught her how to be kind and gentle to her friends, to listen with her ears turned on, and how to say please and thank you even when she didn't want to. You spent almost 2 years of her life shaping and molding her into the kind princess she is today and we're so thankful for you. She still gets to love and see you and every time she gets mad at me, she tells me she's running away to Ms. K's house (one of these days I may just drop her off there - kidding, sorta). You were a beacon for her toddler years and as a parent, I've recognized that you need your tribe to help mold your littles into who they're meant to be and you are one of those core people. We love you, Ms. K! 

And who can forget Ms. M - the peanut butter to Tot's jelly. You simply showed her affection and it changed her day each and every day she entered that classroom. I always knew when Ms. M had after-school care because Tot came home with the biggest smile on her face. 

Lastly, Tot's first teacher - Ms. Lisa. As a new Mama, dropping off my little girl at daycare for the first time was the scariest thing in the world. I honestly didn't think I'd be able to do it, but your kindness and light helped me realize that Tot needed others around her to help her grow and you were one of those people. Every time we talk about San Francisco, she lights up talking about you and that says so much about the effect you made on her little soul. 

Teachers are the glue for our littles and they hold them together as they grow. Without you, we as parents would be lost, and if this time at home has taught us anything - it's that we don't thank you enough. You're their world and I hope I spend the next 14 years of Tots life thanking you over and over and over again. You light her world and for that, we'll be forever blessed. 

So spend some time this week thanking all the teachers in your life and reminding them of the positive impacts they make in your world. 

Thank You!

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