An Open Letter To My Daughters: Letting Go Is So Hard!

Hey Y’all!  It’s been a while.  We’ve been soaking up every.last.second of summer.  Family time is everything in our household.  Sometimes it’s good to take a step back from our social media lives to focus on our real lives and the people that mean the most to us.   My girls are growing at the speed of light.  This summer I feel like if I looked closely enough, I could’ve actually seen them grow.   We’re heading into major transition times in our household.  This week begins a whole new world for both girls.   Tonight I put my big girl to bed for the last time as a “little kid.”  Tomorrow she wakes up and heads off to Middle School…..MID-DLE SCHOOL.  I can’t even believe I’m saying those words.  While every parent out there knows just how fast time goes, there are often moments that slap us in the face and make us realize that our babies aren’t quite babies any more.

My sweet toddler is officially a Pre-Schooler now.  Not just that pretend “pre-school” where you say the word Pre-School just to sound cool.  But she’s actually in a class that counts attendance, gives out tardies (I can only imagine how this is going to go…..I’m sure my just-turned-4 year old really understands the idea of tardies when there is no actual bell that rings) does class work and gets a progress report.  Like, she’s in legit pre-school.  And honestly, I’m not here for it.    When I look at her, I still see a baby.  She’s still my cuddle bug that can’t go to sleep each night unless momma lays with her.  How is she capable of writing her name, saying her ABC’s and being graded on her social, emotional and educational skills.  I’m not ready for someone else to “judge her,” even though I know she’s progressing just fine.  I want her to just be my baby a little longer.  To live in that stress free world of constant fun and entertainment.  Babies don’t keep and that hurts a momma heart.

The truth is, I will love my children at every age and every stage.  It’s not that I only want “babies,” it’s just that I know with each new year comes new challenges and they learn more about this cold, cruel world.  With each new stage in life, it’s necessary to have uncomfortable, scary discussions with our children.  While preparing for Middle School today we had to talk about drugs, alcohol and boys who may act inappropriate.  While it’s important for her to know this stuff and even MORE important for her to hear it from me, I wish we could just go back to the days when I could shelter her from literally everything.  It’s no secret, guys.  We live a Mr. Rogers lifestyle – I’m not even kidding.  My kids have no idea how scary this world can be.  For YEARS my daughter thought “the F word” meant “fart.”  And she thought that was so seriously bad.  (Lord, can we please go back to those glorious years. The years when I could shield her from all the bad and heal all her wounds.)  The hardest part is, there is no going back.  I just have to build her up, show her the way, give her all the mental and emotional tools that she will need in life, encourage her and pray that she always knows how much she is loved.  We have to trust that we’ve done everything that we possibly could to prepare them to leave the nest.   Then we have to let them go and watch them soar.

This is the stage I’m in right now.  My oldest daughter has been soaring so high and I’m so proud of her.  We moved to a small town where we know no one.  She’s starting a new school, she’s meeting new people, she’s playing school sports and she’s putting herself out there every day.  She’s walking into a gym full of 70 girls and she knows not a single one.  She’s brave and strong and she’s facing life head on.  She was scared the first day, but fear didn’t win.  She held her head high and made her way through the crowd.  Now she’s packed her bookbag, picked out her first day outfit and she’s put herself to bed excited to start a new chapter in life.  You all, she is actually excited….like really excited.  Now that is BRAVE.  She is going to slay at this thing called life.  And if my 11 year old can be brave like that, so can I.  Sometimes we can all take a queue from our kids.

There are good things about the kids getting older, too.  This year, for the first time ever, I actually enjoyed back to school shopping.  We took an entire weekend and just shopped ’til we dropped.  I didn’t allow myself to be in a hurry.  I didn’t allow myself to constantly say “no.”  I was present with no outside distractions.  There were so many belly laughs and so many good memories made.   It made me realize how, I may not have babies any more, but I’m gaining bestfriends.  This stage is new and different and I’m not totally sure how to navigate it sometimes, but we will survive and we will thrive.  Although I’d rather talk about bottles and blankies than boobs and pubes, I know that this too is part of my job and we’ll make our way through it.

All my love and hugs to you mommas who are sending your ‘babies’ back to school.

XOXO

Jill

 

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The Bully Teacher That Is Every Parent’s Worst Nightmare

 

Any time the word ‘teacher’ is mentioned in conversation, everyone in the room suddenly has very strong feelings.   In fact, people are as passionate about teachers as they are about politics.  Love ’em or hate ’em, everyone has an opinion; and more often than not, people are usually very vocal with their emotions.

Let me start by saying that we’ve had some INCREDIBLE teachers over the years.  We’ve experienced the best-of-the-best, but unfortunately we’ve also experienced the worst-of-the-worst.  There are people in this world that were literally put on this earth to teach.  They put their heart and soul into teaching and it shows every day in their students.  Those teachers are priceless.  Most of us couldn’t do what they do, day in and day out, and keep our zest for life.  Teachers are not just teachers, they wear so many hats.  They’re counselors, nurses, beauticians, managers, janitors, mediators, and pros at crowd control.  There’s no doubt about it, they have their hands full.  And I will never take a good teacher for granted, ever again.

But then there is the flip side: the side that most people want to ignore, or sugarcoat, and pretend like it isn’t an issue.  But i’m just going to come out and say it {or yell it from the mountaintop} there are A LOT of people who are teachers that should have never become a teacher.  There are teachers who abuse their powers.  There are teachers who are rude, bitter and childish.  There are teachers who are clinically, mentally ill.  And there are teachers who are BULLIES!  Teachers who live out a real live scene from ‘Mean Girls’, bullying innocent children on the daily.

Unfortunately, as a family, we’ve experienced these teachers over the years.  We experienced a teacher who just wouldn’t show up for work, for weeks at a time.  My husband would go to drop our daughter off for first grade and her teacher would be a no-show.  The door was locked, the room was dark, and the tiny naïve first graders would be lined up down the hall with nowhere to go.  They didn’t understand, and for a while we didn’t either, until we finally found out that our teacher was now a patient at a psychiatric facility.  The same teacher who was in charge of my precious baby was completely mentally unstable.  As time went on, we learned more and more from our girl.  We learned of the hurtful words and phrases that this teacher had spewed at the children.  We learned how this teacher had been so negative and so cruel that she had crushed my daughters self esteem.  We learned how this teacher would pull the blinds down on the door and turn the tv on all day, rather than teaching.   And most importantly, we eventually discovered that my daughter had learned virtually nothing during her 1st grade year: one of the most critical learning years in early education.

We’ve also experienced a teacher who was the worst bully that I’ve ever encountered in my lifetime.  She taught her daughter, who was also in the same elementary school, to rigorously pick on my child in a malicious way.  She coached her daughter to lie and fabricate stories.  This teacher and her daughter were constantly spreading false rumors about my child, all the while she was trying to sabotage my child’s relationship with other children at the school.  She constantly metaled in my child’s school life and she coerced and convinced other teachers to not like my child, because her and her daughter simply ‘had it out’ for my little girl.  The stories I could tell you are straight out of a lifetime movie, I’m not even kidding.  And, once again, this behavior was coming from a teacher who was supposed to be in charge of my child’s well being.

My biggest regret as a parent is that I set back and let these things happen to my child.  I made small complaints, but those weren’t enough.  Those calm, mild manner complaints were repeatedly overlooked and swept under the rug.  I look back on that time in our lives and I think “how did I let that happen?”  Why did I not march into that school and scream, throw fits, and turn shit over in the principals office until someone paid attention to me?!  Why was I so nice when those teachers were clearly liable of malpractice.  Why didn’t I do more?  Sometimes the guilt I feel is overwhelming.  I spent both of those years constantly trying to be the peace keeper, but I will never ever do that again.  If I have to fly my crazy flag I will do it proudly.  I’ll go down in a blaze of glory!

The moral of the story is, if you feel that your child is being mistreated at school, you are their only voice.  And you better use a megaphone to get your point across.  If something is seriously wrong, and you feel it in your gut, then don’t be calm like I was – calm doesn’t catch anyone’s attention.  Be bold, be brave and be your child’s advocate because no one else will be.

After all of the stress and drama that my daughter had encountered, we noticed that it was taking a toll on her physically and mentally.  We witnessed the joy drain from her eyes and we saw a sadness taking over her body.  She was mentally and phsycially exhausted.  Her confidence was nonexistent and she felt totally defeated.  It was at that moment that we said, “NO MORE!”  We moved to a new school district and it was THE BEST decision we’ve ever made in life.  Her 4th Grade teacher was absolutely amazing.  She totally reprogrammed my child to love school again.  She was an angel sent from God and i’m forever grateful.  I’m in no way trying to vilify teachers, that isn’t what this is about.  My point is, there are wonderful people and wonderful teachers in this world.  But, unfortunately, shitty people become teachers too.  Don’t always assume that just because someone is a teacher that they’re an amazing person.  Keep your momma senses on high alert at all times.

Just keepin’ it real.  Much love – XOXO-

Jill

 

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