Dear Teachers

I am that mom. I am the mom who calls and emails questioning everything that happens in your classroom. I want a birds eye view of what my little one does each day. I want to understand. I want to know. I wish I still had my little one home with me as I did with my older children, playing, working with them, living life as a toddler should. Instead, I shipped her off. I watched her step on a bus as I walked up to my house, tears streaming down my face. I couldn't look back as the bus honked because as it drove away, so did my dreams of having a typical child, a typical family.

I am the mom who is up at night. I wonder what my little one does at school. Is she scared? She can't tell you if she is. Is she hungry? She's just learning to say "I want a snack". I packed up my little love and trust that you will love her as only a mother could until she is safe in my arms.

Dear Teacher, I never meant to be this mom. I never chose to have a child with special needs that would cause me to question every moment of my pregnancy, delivery and her early life. I never thought I would be the mom jealous of others as their typical kids progressed, typically. I never meant to be that mom who calls, questions and begs for more information to get a picture of where my little one has come from to have hope as to where my little one will end up.

Life isn't easy with my little one. Some days she grows exponentially. I see it. I beam with pride but mostly I swell with hope wanting to believe that no matter what my child does, she will be okay. I want to believe she will lead the life I dreamed of.

I was that mom, pregnant that felt every kick. I loved being pregnant, safely protecting this little being within my womb as she grew. I was the mom that worried she'd be born early or perhaps someone would expose her to something she was not yet vaccinated against. Never did I dream her disability would be something I couldn't control and most likely never caused.

I lay awake feeling guilty. I cry thinking that I brought this child into the world and I can't fix her pain. I cry thinking about how as she tantrums the child within her disappears and if you look in her steel blue eyes, she is gone. She is not there. I want her back. I want to remember what it was like when she was here, before her disability showed up one day riding on a fire truck at an amusement park and how it began to change our lives, not just my life, but the lives of all my children.

I feel bad. I feel deep sadness that I have a child my other children will have to care for. I can never die. They never asked for more siblings and they certainly didn't ask for a sibling with special needs. Sure, they love her. They have grown so much from her but still, they didn't ask for this life, for a life that used to be dotted with day trips to amusement parks that are now filled with therapy where they have to sit and wait.

Dear Teacher, I don't mean to question you. I know that you went into teaching most likely for the same reason I initially did. You love kids. You want to see them grow. You want to see them flourish. I want all that too but what you need to know is that this little one, the one I trust in your arms has my whole heart right now. This little one that I send off on a daily basis to ride the bus long before she ever should have to is vulnerable. She cannot tell me what is going on and while she's gone, I occupy myself cleaning so I don't worry and wonder what she's going when I am not alone.

Dear Teacher, when you took this job as teacher of special needs, you took on more than most teachers ever will, you took on children wearing their moms hearts into your classroom each day. Love them so the moms feel the love you have for their children. With a great foundation, there is hope that these kids no matter where they end up will be happy and one day the families will sit around remembering how important that Teacher was.

Thank you to all the teachers out there, but especially to those who choose to help the littles without a voice. Without you, parenting these kids would be so much harder. I pray you always find strength and love them and teach them as you would teach your own.


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