To my daughter's second grade teacher

Hello, you don't know me yet, but I promise you will. I can't volunteer in the classroom or the library, but I will consistently and without fail, sign up to send in baggies, pretzels, pipe cleaners or any other random item you may request. You can be assured that the homework my daughter is turning in was completed under my supervision, at the kitchen table, and that I checked it over before she turned it in. You won't know yet that she has a younger brother, but I am pretty sure it won't take her long to share that with you because those two are thick as thieves. She might talk a lot about the beach and BC Football and her family, especially her grandparents (both sets), her aunties, her uncles, and her little cousins because they are the most special people in her world.

You might notice she is shy and even a bit anxious about her first day of second grade in this new to her school where she isn't the biggest kid anymore. She won't outwardly tell you she is nervous, but I assure you that her nerves have been electric since camp ended last Friday.

I know that the sass I have seen at home this past week has been because of those nerves and I am quite sure that by the time she says "good morning" to you, that sass will all but disappear. One of her best friends in the entire world happens to be in class with her this year, it's quite a thing for them, three years in a row now. We are all aware that this is likely the last year for them to be together in grade school like this. Three years is quite a streak. We've shared with them how special this is, what responsible young ladies they must be to be allowed to share a classroom again this year. They haven't seen each other in awhile, they might be (they will be) full of energy and gusto and you may want to separate them. They understand that, but please don't. Give them a moment to quell their enthusiasm and I promise you will see the responsible young ladies I told you about before.

I know you will see her quiet side, the studious and serious one that she is supposed to show you at school. She will need to be reminded to pull her letters downward instead of upwards. She will hide her fingers under her desk when you ask her a math question. She will freeze while writing a story and if she struggles, she has been known to erase the entire page. Be patient with her, I know you will, but she wants so very badly to turn in a perfect paper. Those math problems before her on the new to her math wizard program are both her best area ("I love math!") and her nemesis.  She becomes easily overwhelmed when she knows she is being timed and she hates to see the many problems she must complete. I know the MCAS is next year. I know she needs to practice. Please, allow her some space to work through this and I promise, she will be a star.

Where she has deficits, she also has tenacity and I know you will see how fierce she can be. More than anything she is compassionate and unbelievably kind. She is sensitive to her classmates and you can count on her to seek out the student struggling, the one being picked on, the one needing encouragement. It is the single most wonderful thing about her; Caroline's spirit of inclusiveness and care for her fellow man. 

We have high expectations for this year, yes of her, but more for ourselves because we hear that things get pretty serious in second grade. I'm as anxious as she is today, full of worry that I won't meet the high expectations of a parent to a second grader. I'm trying to remember to be incredibly proud of her. I don't doubt that you will soon understand how special she is and we are so happy to share her with you this year.
I'll be the mom emailing you late into the night about something that she said or a homework assignment I don't understand. I'll be the mom who tears up during our parent teacher conference because I'll be listening intently to you talking about the education of my daughter. That's where she gets her sensitivity. I'll also be the mom who has a great partner, with equally high (if not higher) expectations of himself, and I assure you that he will be sitting beside me at the parent teacher conference. 

The year will fly. It will be full of ups and downs, challenges and accomplishments. I'll be an unwavering ally, but a steadfast advocate, and I'm looking forward to partnering with you on this journey. 

In sincere gratitude,

Caroline's mom


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