To my child’s teacher,

You’re more than just a teacher, you know. You care for our most prized person, every single day.

The words “thank you” don’t seem to do justice to how grateful I actually am for you.

Every morning when I wake up, I pick my daughter up out of her crib and I cling to her because I know in a few short hours she’ll no longer be in my arms. She’ll be in yours. I step into my shoes and head out the door for a whirlwind day. First stop: daycare drop-off.

I can still get anxious some days pulling up to your building, but when I walk in the room to drop off my little girl, you are there for us. You’re smiling, full of energy. Ready to care for my daughter for the hours I cannot.

As I rush off to the office—to conference calls, meetings, and strategic conversations—I envy that time you get with her. In the beginning, it was brutal. Handing off my tiny baby to a strange woman I didn’t know. I hated everything during those weeks. I hated my pencil skirts. I hated the commute to work. I hated my job. I hated the guilt. I think I even hated you.

But now? Now I adore you.

You’re my right arm.

You’re my wingwoman.

You’re there with my daughter, five days a week—loving her, comforting her, teaching her.

I’ve learned that my working-mom badge can carry a lot of weight. The heavy weight of guilt. But you have given me such a gift.

You allow me to wear my working-mom badge with pride—not guilt.

I’ll never forget the day I got a call that my daughter was sick and needed to be picked up. It was the first time I wasn’t able to rush to her side. My husband called me later that afternoon to tell me how pick-up went.

I broke down in tears as he described the love you were showing our sick little girl. You were rocking her ever so gently, stroking her back, comforting her—just the way I would. I realized in that moment that I love the love you show my daughter in the moments when I cannot. While it ripped my heart out to not be there with her, I knew you were and I was confident you could make our girl feel safe.

So until I can find the words to convey the profound appreciation I have for you…

“Thank you” will just have to do.

A version of this article was originally published on I Spilled My Wine.