In just a few days we will drop our kids off in your care. They’ll be dressed in crisp jeans and shirts from Target that I pulled the stickers off of that morning. Their hair will be perfectly in place and their socks will match. They’ll be excited to put their backpacks on for the first time and I’ll pack a fancy lunch with a note that says “I love you.”

But don’t get used to that. We like to start strong, but by Christmas, bedhead and mismatched socks will be more our style.

Having new things and nice hair makes us feel brave on the first day of school.

Afterward, I’ll go home and pour myself a cup of coffee. My littlest and I will survey the empty house and wonder what we used to do during the day. We’ll miss them and the first day will feel long.

I will wonder as I sit at my counter if you’ll like my daughter.

Will you tolerate her or will you like her?

Will you get annoyed at the way she bounces when she talks?

Will it bother you how she gets too loud when she’s really really happy?

Will her hummingbird-like spirit make you crazy, or will it make you smile?

She is my firecracker, my free spirit, my wild one.

I wonder if she will try and boss you around like she sometimes does to me. I’m sorry in advance if she thinks that she is the teacher some days. We are working on that.

She does well with strong leadership and defined boundaries...not unlike a young lioness. It’s enough to drive me crazy some days, but I’m so excited to see how she’ll use that strength in the future.

You see, she’s not very good at personal space—but she has a heart of gold and a gift of joy.

If you struggle with this or any other behavior please let us know and we will work together as a team. We will back you up from home in every way, you have our full support.

I’m not always the together-parent.

I can’t always sign up to volunteer and I usually look like death warmed over in the morning when I drop them off. Last year my daughter asked me if I could please start wearing real pants to her classroom (as opposed to yoga ones.)

I’m not a star classroom mom, but I will do my best.

I’m not a star classroom mom, but I love my kids more than life and I appreciate you more than you know.

This year will shape my daughter in countless ways.

The picture I take on the first day will be almost unrecognizable compared to the one I take on the last. These years they fly by far too fast—and I want to thank you for being a part of this important time for her.

I will bring a coffee gift card or flowers when I think of it, but it will never be enough to truly say THANK YOU.

Thank you for investing in my daughter.

Thank you for giving her the gift of knowledge.

Thank you for countless hours of preparation.

Thank you for giving her what I cannot.