(with particular consciousness that we, as a culture, do not say these things nearly enough, and that it should not take horror and tragedy to remind us to say them)Thank you.
Thank you for reveling in the chaos of twenty-six irrepressibly enthusiastic children: most of us could not imagine coping with this every single day.
Thank you for repeating directions over and over and over again. With a smile.
Thank you for singing.
Thank you for glue sticks and scissors and paper towels and pencil sharpeners.
For taking on the messy projects, so little hands could learn life-long skills.
Thank you for introducing Mozart and Shakespeare in ways comprehensible to six-year-olds, even while making it clear that this glorious romp through music and poetry was just the tip of those icebergs.
Thank you for proffering hugs.
Thank you for settling squabbles, and tolerating the chitter-chatter, and knowing when to be firm and help the children realize how to be responsible for themselves for a moment.
Thank you for zipping coats and tying shoes and finding mittens. (Thank you for knowing which mittens are whose.)
Thank you for reading in ways that open up for children the magic of books. And for talking to them about writing as if they--who can hardly spell--are budding authors. Thank you for planting the seeds that will later blossom into a consciousness about the power and beauty of language.
Thank you for instilling manners and habits and kindness.
For knowing that play can be work and good work can be playful.
For spending evenings cutting out shapes and weekends dreaming up projects and your own paychecks buying supplies to enrich your classes.
Thank you for math and spelling and geography and history...not just for the facts, but for the love of learning.
Thank you for taking our children for hours each day and returning them to us even better, brighter, more learned.
Thank you for protecting them and nurturing them and guiding them and loving them, even when you go long days without anyone telling you "thank you."
We, who could never stand in your shoes so effectively or gracefully, owe you a debt of gratitude as bright as the shiny hearts our children paint into the skies of their happy pictures.
Thank you for knowing, instantly, that those pictures mean love.
Thank you for taking the time to have the patience, and in moments of terrible crisis the bravery, of a thousand mothers rolled into one.