Mother’s Day is just around the corner! Are the gifts that my students are making going to wow, the moms? Well, the marigolds we planted are mostly dead (I should have just done the tried and true hearty bean plant instead). We also painted hand print flowers (yawn)… but, here’s the clincher, I’ve got one thing that will make moms cry!
Every year, we write a letter to our moms, walk to the mailbox and mail them. What a surprise it is to get a letter from your own 6 yr. old child! One year we were on a field trip at the beach, minding our own business when all of a sudden there was a lady running towards us crying. I soon realized that she was a mom of one of my boys. She ran to us with tears streaming down her face, picked up her son and told him that she got his letter in the mail. She could not stop hugging and kissing him. She got his letter 30 minutes before, jumped in her car right away and drove all the way to the beach to let her son know that she got his letter in the mail and that it was the best thing ever. She then went off to buy him some well deserved ice cream.
This boy had FAS, and had struggled in his short school career. You can imagine how much guilt this mother had as a result of the roulette she played while she was pregnant. We even caught her helping her child cheat on a spelling test once by writing words on a hidden cheat sheet (note: spelling tests, I don’t give ’em anymore!). This letter showed his mom for the first time that he was actually learning how to write. Mom told me later that after reading his letter, she knew she could relax. With all the support he was getting and all the love he received from the staff at our school, he was going to be okay.
I don’t know how any other mother has reacted to receiving their Mother’s Day letter in the mail, but this one reaction has encouraged me to keep doing it year after year. These kids are learning how to write! What an amazing process! I also love doing it because you get so much insight into your students’ relationships with their mothers and what they love about them.
Here’s a printable of the letter that I sent out this year. Depending on the grade level, you can add more questions or take some off. I also get them to draw and colour a picture of them and their mom on the back and decorate the envelope we send them in.
One more thing, I know many of you are planning Mother’s Day teas. I myself have participated in many over the years. This year, though, I have a son in preschool… my son’s Mother’s Day tea was this morning, and because I work at school I could not go. My son was the only one whose mother was not there. My husband went in my place, but it was not the same. I’m hoping that my four year old just rolled with it, as most four year olds usually do, but I can’t help feeling guilty and sad that I wasn’t there with him. I missed a special event with my son. It’s hard enough being a working parent; missing this was heartbreaking. Now, I know I’m going to be missing a lot more throughout the years, but it upsets me that special school events more and more these days are not being held outside of school time. Parent teacher interviews, Christmas concerts, Mother’s Day teas… Many of us got into this job knowing that it was not a regular day job. We work before and after hours prepping, meeting with parents, meeting with colleagues, and planning and attending events. I’m afraid of the new “normal” that is sweeping across schools. What kind of a community are we creating when working parents have less and less opportunities to connect with schools through these events? Don’t we want parents to be “involved”? These events are a way to get parents in schools plain and simple.
So, I will not be having a Mother’s Day tea this year and I will never, ever have one during school time. Now, someone get me some tissues!
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