To you, you all know who you are,
So here we are, the season of grand finales and ‘one last times’.
How bittersweet it is to feel the season changing. As summer starts it brings with it the anticipation of something exciting and the drawing to a close of something truly wonderful. As she scribbles her closing lines in another ending-too-soon childhood chapter, I look back on her time here and the person she has grown into. I look at all your faces and see flashbacks of stories Beaux has told me. Whether you taught her how to harvest potatoes, the days of the week, or where the secret fairy door is in the woods, you have helped shape her into the girl that she is and I know she will take school, as with everything, in her stride because you have paved her path to love learning and everything that comes with it. But it’s more than that. I’m sad that her time with you is drawing to a close. Not just her time in this nursery, with these friends. But her time with you. Her teachers.
Her first day… 8 hours. No settling in, no ‘first day photo’, no try before you buy, no testing the waters, just thrust into the deep end. 8 full hours is all it took for her and I to fall in love with this nursery, with this community and with this group of people we’ve come to call our friends.
After a few months, you understood things about her that I thought only I knew: the way she chews her nails when she’s nervous; the way she gets quiet when her feelings have been hurt; the way she gets hot headed when she doesn’t get something just right. How grateful I am for your time, your knowledge, your love, your patience (Looooord knows you need that in abundance) and that we took the leap of faith 4 years ago. So here is a letter to say thank you, from me and my child.
When I look at you all, I see people with sparkling talents: Creative. Captivating. Clever. Charismatic. Compassionate. You could have used those gifts to pursue any career you wanted. You chose to teach, to care; the ‘noblest profession of all’.
You chose to get up early and stay up late. You chose a career that rarely finds you leaving your job at the door when you walk out the door.
You chose to be underpaid and rarely thanked while still-having-to-
You chose to help raise other people’s children, even when you’re missing your own.
You chose to find ways to put your own innovative spin on education, to give children the freedom to learn and the tools to succeed.
You chose to show up and push through on days when you were sick, overwhelmed, or tired — because your children needed you.
You chose to give your kids — my kids — second, third, fourth and fortieth chances, and to always believe they could be better tomorrow.
You chose to believe in the magic of children and to see the world through their eyes.
You chose to worry about children whose difficult home lives are beyond your power to improve.
You chose to care even though it can be a gamble.
You chose to care even when the kids didn’t care back. You chose to care, period.
You have welcomed us into this community, a community created in all the chaos that children bring. You’ve taken a group of children (and staff) with varying abilities, from every imaginable family structure/culture and religion and you’ve build a culture and family of your own. If the world could see what huge things you can accomplish in such a small space with these precious, different-but-same adults and children, I have to believe the whole planet would be different. Better.
And actually? The world is different, the world is better because of everything you have achieved here in this tiny nursery with this growing group for the last few decades.
But while building unity may be one of your biggest achievements, I also treasure the countless small gifts you have given her along the way.
You took her in and learnt to love her. You learnt all her weaknesses and all her strengths. You hugged her when she fell on the playground and I wasn’t there. You drew her out when she was quiet, or worried, or discouraged. You talked her down (refereed) when she was fighting with her friends. You put up with her when she was less than she could have been and you cheered the loudest when she finally got it. You are an extension of everything she is. You brought out the best in her. You’ve brought the best out in me.
And it’s not just my kids — you’ve done it for the whole nursery. You’ve cared enough to study them. To figure out what makes sense to them, what motivates them, so you could teach each and every one in the best way you know how. You’ve cared enough that it keeps you up at night. To have someone care and worry about my child as much as me, well there isn’t a greater gift is there?
Your influence is a thread woven into our family fabric. Your names are inscribed in the pages of our family history: Who were your nursery teachers? Your reception teacher? Your year 4 Maths teacher? Your names will forever live on in that list, and in our hearts. Your teaching has shaped her upbringing, character, and path. You have changed her, helped her on her way to becoming the person she’s going to be. You’ve helped her through her bad days and you’ve celebrated her on her good days. Through her growing pains, her grazed knees and whenever she gave you a hard time, you put up with her and that matters, it tells her that she matters. You’ve intertwined your grown-up joys and struggles and successes with her growing-up ones.
You’ve been present and you’ve been a constant, you’ve gone above what’s expected and every extra mile hasn’t gone unnoticed. Every day for as long as she could, she’s counted “how many sleeps till nursery” and every morning your smile and greeting was what she looked forward to most. She adores you all. And that means so much more to me than I can express. I now have a girl that reminds me life is one big adventure and if I don’t take the time to enjoy the little moments, they will pass me by, leaving me wondering how I could have missed them.
For all this, and so much more, thank you for who you are, what you do, and all you give. For giving our littlest girl the biggest dreams and for the 4 years of warmth and inspiration you’ve shown her.
And so I leave you with a nostalgic feeling that my first born is off to school.
We leave you knowing that our daughter will better understand how to fill someone’s bucket with kindness.
A choked up, (but ‘fine’) teary mum who’s just not ready to let go.