by Sarah Kern
It’s one of my favorite times of the school year. The warm sunshine and peeks of grass remind me that spring is around the corner. The days are longer, and the children are blissfully comfortable at school. We are all deeply connected, having shared many hours and meaningful moments together over the last six months. I’ve wiped tears and noses, held hands and given hugs, and laughed and learned alongside my students. But this spring I prepare not for walks in the blooming woods, gardening, and year-end reports. This spring I prepare for my own greatest time of challenge and transformation: Motherhood.
I have a job that humbles me constantly. In the fall, with my tiny baby in my belly, I teared up reflecting on the trust parents had in me, who many of them hardly knew, as they handed off their screaming toddlers. Someday, would I be able to trust another to care for my child in that way? I’ve marveled with a special attention to the way each of our parents know their own child so very well, how they adjust their parenting for every little moment and need. Someday, would I know my daughter in that way? As I recently sat with parents at parent-teacher conferences, I appreciated their honesty and their humor. How will I see my daughter one day? Will I be able to be honest about her challenges as much as I can celebrate her strengths?
I don’t know the answers to these questions, but I do know that the parents I’ve been so fortunate to know over the last six years at All Seasons have taught me more than I have ever taught them or their children. I am so grateful. I’ve felt it all around me this entire pregnancy — your support, concern, excitement, and love. So many of you have gone out of your way to offer me kindness and support. When I have a baby question, I know just who I’ll contact; you are the true experts.
I can’t express my gratitude for this school without mentioning the staff. The women who run this school are my second family. I’ve asked them many times to raise my child for me (they thought I was joking). Many of them are extraordinary mothers themselves, rich with knowledge, experience, and humor. They pulled off a surprise baby shower under the guise of a licensing meeting, got me my favorite cake on my birthday, and outfitted me in XL men’s snow pants to get me through the winter. They were among the first people I contacted when we found out our baby was a girl (I think one of you still has a chicken cage to clean for betting it was a boy!). They haven’t batted an eye as I’ve had to make adjustments to what I’m able to physically and mentally do this year, even when it’s meant more work for them.
Another facet of this wonderful place is the seniors. They’ve asked after me with the care only a grandparent can express, in a way filling the void I feel from the loss of my own grandparents. They’ve given me advice, shared their birth stories (I’m so grateful for modern medicine!), and reminisced about their own lives as new parents. One of the things I look forward to most is visiting and seeing my baby in the arms of these dear people.
So despite the pain of sitting in tiny chairs and my near constant exposure to germs and various bodily fluids, I’m quite sure there is no better place to be pregnant, and in the fall, there will be no better place to be a new mom. It’s all thanks to this wonderful community.
So I’m passing my classes on for this lovely season of spring, saying farewell for now as I prepare for the mystery of being a mom. Thank you doesn’t seem enough to say to all of you wonderful parents and teachers, but know I will pull a thread from each of you as I shape who I am as a mother.