Dear Mrs. S,
Let me introduce myself. My name is Luke’s Mom. I go by another name too, but it’s all I’m seemed to be known by now, not that I’m complaining.
I haven’t been around long, but it’s hard to remember a time when I didn’t exist.
You, however, have been around for over four years now. Really, it’s been over five years if you count that first year when you went by Miss G.
(You’re still trying to not go into the fetal position when you think that those kids that remember you as that are now seventh graders).
When I was a little girl, I always wanted to be you. An elementary school teacher with an endless supply of Expo markers, boxes of Crayola crayons in a bright-colored tub, your own reading rug and rocking chair to read stories to children and change your voice to different characters, your own bulletin boards to decorate, your own class to lead down the hallway while having eyes on the back of your head, and even your own papers to grade with your multi-colored pens.
And, thank the Lord, I got to be you these past few years and it’s been a great joy of my life. You have met friends that will be lifelong, taught students who will change the world, and grown into a profession that’s become a passion.
But that little girl you were wanted to be something even more than the teacher with the polka-dot dress and colorful lanyard.
You wanted to be a Mommy.
A Mama who was able to stay at home.
We’re going through a transition right now, sister. One you’ve prayed would arrive and wondered if God would grant the desires of your heart. And praise Him, He did! One where your husband crunched numbers and you saved up together to allow my dream of staying home to happen. And praise Him again, it has!
It’s a beautiful and joyful transition.
But can I let you in on a little secret?
It’s also a little bittersweet, too.
Don’t you think I’m complaining. I am so grateful to be here and to see you step away for a while.
While you have some friends that don’t understand why you would want to, you have many friends who would love to be at home, but can’t for their own reasons right now. It doesn’t make me any better of a mom and them any less of one.
(On a side note, I will guard what I say on social media. Because you know what a tired teacher who is also the mama to a sweet baby doesn’t want to hear? How tired I am. Newsflash: So are they, but they have to get up in the morning and wear dress pants. You can stay in pajamas).
Much like teaching, there’s nothing that can prepare you to be a mom until you actually are one. College courses and labor classes are one in the same. Helpful information, but once you hold that baby, much like once you stand in front of that first class, you realize you really know nothing.
But that teaching thing? You felt like you were (finally) getting into your groove.
And don’t think I haven’t noticed you.
The school supply sales are full throttle, and it’s all you can do to not pick up a few boxes of Crayola (for those kids who inevitably bring in RoseArt), a few extra Elmer’s gluesticks, and some bulletin board border for a fresh start.
On Sunday morning? When the pastor asked for all the teachers to stand so they could be prayed over? Well, you felt a little out-of-place as you remained sitting (until you bolted for that colleague down the aisle to pray over her. I know that was all you).
You’ve been seeing all sorts of ideas on Pinterest that make your teaching imagination come alive with cross-curricular activities, how you’d design your classroom this year, and all the little stations you’d have set up your Open House next Friday night.
You, in a cruel twist of fate, are even having school dreams again.
You’ve visited that second home of yours of the past five years a few times with friends as they set up their rooms and decorate their doors, and you’ve felt that twinge of, “Am I doing the right thing?”
I’m here to assure you.
God has made it clear that you are by how He’s provided when it didn’t make sense. He’s had this laid on your heart as long as you can remember. You didn’t dream of the wedding and the dress, you dreamed of the husband and the family you’d hopefully have.
You can think back to when you were a very little girl and remember eating a Happy Meal with your Mom at McDonald’s on a random Monday, reading Bible stories on her bed, and taking walks around the block.
I want that too.
You see, I’m a little selfish. I want to see all the “firsts,” I want to be the one that calms Luke down when he cries in the middle of the day, the one who walks countless laps as he finally falls asleep on my shoulder, and the one who even changes those dirty diapers.
(Well, Daddy can do that too as he feels led).
It’s true, you loved seeing your name outside that classroom door, but one day you’ll see it again. There will be other classes for you to love, but there will never be this time of my life or his life again.
You knew the moment you found out I’d come around that you, Mrs. S., didn’t stand a chance.
Home is where I’m supposed to be.
You aren’t going too far though, as you tutor some sweet kiddos once school cranks up. So, don’t go throwing away those flashcards and file folder games just yet. You’ll get to keep your second love close to your heart, just on a much smaller scale.
Oh, and that darling son of yours? Well, he’s going to need that creativity you loved using in your classroom. Show him the shapes as you build castles with blocks. Build a fort and stack it with books and a flashlight. Teach him the alphabet with a silly song. Practice your numbers with hopscotch and sidewalk chalk. Read one of your favorite books with a puppet on your arm.
You used to pray every morning on your short drive to work for many things, but you’d always include, “Let me be a light to my students and coworkers in my classroom and hallways.”
I promise to carry that light in this new phase of our lives together, even if it’s just the living room and hallway to the bedroom.
Thanks for all the wonderful memories, Mrs. S. It’s with a little tear in my eye but a smile in my heart to tell you that I promise to make the most special ones while you’re away.
– Luke’s Mom