This week it's Teacher Appreciation week at my daughter's elementary school. With 5 kids under my belt, I've been through many teacher appreciation weeks. I have a bit of a snarky attitude towards this week. Why are we as parents being assigned a specific time to appreciate our child's teacher? Not only are we assigned a designated week to do our appreciating we are also told how to show that appreciation. Day one is 'give your teacher a flower' to show your appreciation. Day two was a note, today is day three and it's 'give your teacher a snack' tomorrow is office supplies. I mean really.... what says I appreciate you more than pencil lead refills or post-its? I've always participated because I don't want my kid to be the one who is heaven-for-bid unappreciative. But I'll be honest and tell you that I do it with an attitude. I do appreciate our teacher, I just don't appreciate being told I have to show in assignment form. Next they'll be grading us on how well we showed our appreciation.
My last child is special. I mean they are all special in their own way but she has the blessed opportunity to be last. She may have come this way but it's also part of where she falls in the family. She needs to fend for herself more and she does. Is it this way because I'm older and tired, because I just don't care about the stuff that I know doesn't matter, or because I'm spread thinner? I'm not sure the reason. Eliza has street smarts. She doesn't come to me as much as my 18 yr old does for help with stuff. Bless her, she just figures things out on her own. She reminded me this year that it's time to bring a flower to the teacher. And she didn't ask me to go buy a big bouquet from the florist either. There were plenty of those emerging flowers-first out of the cars at the drop off line Monday morning. No, Eliza simply asked "do we have any good flowers blooming in our yard this week Mom?" She planned to pick and arrange them herself with a wet napkin and foil to hold them until they got to school. She chose bleeding hearts and azaleas and they were stunning in their simplicity and uniqueness. She wrote a note on paper from the printer folded it in half and drew a nice piece of pencil artwork on the front for note day (without a reminder!!!). Heartfelt words from an 11 yr old. Today when I returned from the middle school drop off she was holding a sheer fabric bag of salt water taffy from our Spring break trip to the beach. She'd found a mini heart shaped wedding card from some stash of cards and told me she was going to use it to write her note on if that was okay with me. I couldn't help but think how I've been doing teacher appreciation week wrong for so many years. Why was I stepping in and doing it for them without real appreciation?
Eliza has shown me how to appreciate a teacher. How to appreciate a self sufficient child. Audrey is always accusing me of showing favoritism to my youngest child and this is a prime example of why. She does things so I don't have to. I appreciate my cleaning help in a similar way. When she comes every two weeks I have a love that goes beyond the check I write that I don't have to vacuum dog hair off the impossible to vacuum steps to the garage. I think with every step I take up to the kitchen how much I love Fransisca. When people help me and do things so I don't have to do, I get a bit giddy. The other day Troy organized the tupperware cupboard. I wanted to take him right then and there. Instead I texted him a sweet thank you the following day. It seemed more appropriate.
I think humans need appreciation and one of the best ways to show this is to do something for them that they didn't expect. I know Mother's Day is coming up and there will be expectations met or unmet. But nothing beats a kid who saves you a trip to the store. I wonder what office supply day will bring? I can't wait to see what she'll come up with..