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Thank you for taking care of my firstborn, sweet teacher

Dear kindergarten teacher,

Before my firstborn son walked into your classroom, my nerves started. A boxing match of worries ensued with questions serving as the punches.

Was he ready?

Will he make any friends?

Will he me miss me throughout the day?

Will the big kids make fun of him?

The doubt never ceased.

See, when my firstborn left my arms for kindergarten, all of the baby memories flashed through my brain. I remembered his first smile, his first giggle, him sleeping on my naked chest, his first tooth—everything. That time I spent with my first child was like nothing else in the world because we went through all of those firsts together. He made me a mother. So, instead of being okay with all this "growing up" stuff, I wanted to grip onto my son's childhood and never let go.

Upon my firstborn entering kindergarten, I had no idea what to expect. The fear of the unknown swarmed me like those annoying summer mosquitoes. But my son? He felt none of my angst. He shot out of bed, got dressed, and devoured his breakfast—ready for his school debut. His first days were tiring, yes, but he felt the calming presence of his new teacher.

The first couple of months were rough after school—his little body needed a break that school just couldn't give him. After a long day, he'd come home exhausted. Yet, in the morning, he'd brag about the things he learned in school, and gush over his adoring teacher.

And as his kindergarten teacher, you helped him (and me) make this mammoth transition. No, it wasn't seamless. But you gave me great ideas to help his tired body adjust to those long days. Between early bedtimes, snacks, and letting him vedge-out in front of the TV if he wanted to, we finally figured out a decent after-school routine.

More importantly, though, you listened to me—a worried mother. You sensed my anxiety. You reassured me that my son was doing fine and was excelling (and loving) school. "He has such a zest for learning," you'd say. "He's making friends just fine." Your simple words and emails made this neurotic, first-time mother feel more at-ease than I ever imagined I could with sending my kiddo out into the world. The extra time and care you took by answering my questions helped me sleep better at night.

As the school year comes to an end, I'm getting closer to having a first grader. To my surprise, my heart doesn't ache like I thought it would.

My son has his first wiggly tooth and can now read. He's thrilled about entering sports and other "big kid" activities. He has much more confidence in social settings. And I'm learning that watching your child grow up doesn't have to mean all heartbreak for mama.

So, I thank you, my firstborn's teacher, for helping me realize that not only is growing up inevitable, but it can be really fun to watch and experience as a mother, too.

Thank you for giving me the ability to let go a little and to set my son free. Because with a teacher like you, I knew that he still had someone looking out for him, guiding him, and applauding him Every. Single. Day. And now that it's the end of the school year, I can finally say that I did it—it was scary and hard at times, but with your help, I made it through.

Just like those mosquitoes that go away with the cool fall air, so did my apprehension that came with sending my firstborn off to school. Thank you for helping me swat that doubt away.

Love,

A first-time kindergarten mama

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Who says you have to wait for birthdays or holidays to give your bestie a great gift? A sweet surprise that tells her you've been thinking of her might be the pick-me-up she needs in these more-than-trying times. We've rounded up some of our favorite go-to gifts that are certain to be a bright spot in her week. But be warned, you may want to snag a few for yourself. (You deserve it, mama.)

Here are some our favorite "just because" gifts to give our hardworking mama friends.

New Mother face + body care duo

volition face + body care duo

This correcting oil and stretch mark minimizer is perfect for the pregnant mama looking to keep her pregnancy glow. The correcting oil brightens the skin while reducing dark spots, and the stretch mark minimizer works to smooth her ever-growing belly.

$70

Allover roller

esker allover roller

This jade roller goes beyond your typical face roller and can be used anywhere on the body. It works to increase stimulation and reduce puffiness and is perfect for applying any oils to the face or body. Plus, it feels like a mini spa treatment.

$65

Kombucha making kit

farmsteady kombucha making kit

What could be a more perfect gift for the health-obsessed friend? This kombucha making kit comes with everything you need to brew your own homemade green tea kombucha. They'll think this is the tastiest gift ever.

$45

Laetitia lipstick

cupid & psyche laetitia

This red lipstick is perfect for your makeup enthusiast bestie who is looking to spruce up her life in quarantine. Crafted in the United States, these bee and vegan-friendly and cruelty-free lipsticks are created to flatter all complexions. Cupid and Psyche Beauty makes finding the perfect red lip way too easy!

$23

Jigsaw puzzle

inner piecec jigsaw puzzle

Mamas need to destress now more than ever during quarantine. This adorable jigsaw puzzle is perfect for the mama who needs a brain break! The 500-piece puzzle designed by artist Ray Oranges features an abstract gradient design that fits a standard frame when completed. Bonus: It's printed on recycled paper and the company donates $1 from every puzzle sold to youth mindfulness programs.

$30

Matilda's Bloombox

matilda's bloombox

If we have to be stuck inside, we might as well have some gorgeous florals to brighten up the space. Matilda's Bloombox locally sources blooms, delivers them to her door and provides simple tips on how to arrange it into a beautiful bouquet.

$39

'I Am Enough' bracelet

I Am Enough bracelet

Let this dainty bracelet serve as a constant reminder to your bestie that she is enough. She'll wear this on her wrist and read this daily oath to herself, "I Am Enough."

$35

Glow assorted teas

vahdam low assorted teas

This tea gift box set covers the entire spectrum of flavors from sweet to spicy. Individually packaged in beautiful tins, your gal pal will feel like a queen sipping her morning tea. Originally $40, this set is currently on sale for just $24. We'll take two, please.

$24

Find your voice journal

find your voice journal

Journaling is a great way to ease anxiety and will slow your bestie's racing mind before bed. This gift is perfect for first time journalists and includes prompts, daily quotes and coloring pages to help her unlock her potential and find her voice.

$22

Premium frother

shore magic premium frother

This gift is fitting for your latte-sipping bestie who can't go a day without her coffee. All she has to do is add two scoops of collagen to her favorite drink, and she'll have a perfectly foamy drink ready in seconds. Skipping the drive-thru line has never been so easy!

$25

Bath soak infusion kit

maude bath soak infusion kit

Say hello to hydration! She'll be feeling smooth and relaxed as ever after a long bath soaking in these salts. This vegan + cruelty-free set incorporates dead sea salt and dehydrated coconut milk powder for an ultra hydrating experience.

$32

Tiny Tags 'mama' necklace

Tiny Tags 'mama' necklace

It's a hard-earned title she answers to a hundred times per day. Whether she's new to the club or a seasoned professional, this delicate script 'mama' necklace is guaranteed to be a perfect fit.

$105

Superfood honey

Beekeeper's Naturals B.Powered honey

With a lack of sleep and jam-packed days, getting through the afternoon can be a real challenge. Send her a powerful pick-me-up in the form of a therapeutic blend of royal jelly, bee pollen, propolis and raw honey. It makes the ideal companion for tea, smoothies, yogurt or even on its on.

$17

Calming midnight mask with melatonin

Who doesn't deserve a reminder to pamper themself every once in awhile? Even better, this mask does all its work at night while you're sleeping with no extra effort needed. It's an amazing plant-powered antioxidant-packed mask that has melatonin, wild dandelion leaf and hyaluronic acid to rehydrate, repair and reset facial skin. It's so good, you might want to gift it to yourself. We won't tell, mama.

$68

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