Dear Mrs L,
When my son was in Kindergarten it was your first year as principal at our school. I was a little weirded out by you because you were simply too sweet. You seemed to be patting me on my head and smiling just past me all the time. I was never really sure that you knew what was going on in the trenches.
But M had a great and wonderful teacher who had been teaching for three decades. I didn't really have to worry about anything because Mrs S had things covered.
And then this year things with M really seemed to take a bit of turn for the worse.
But, Mrs L, you've been a surprising new discovery. You love children. When I had to come in to the office and talk to you and I got all weepy because if M's difficulties, you saw right through me like my skin was made of glass. You started telling me about how it was when your kids went to school and you were so busy working full time and trying to manage kids and how now you just hired a wonderful teacher and you didn't even know until she brought it up that she taught your kids grade one during that first difficult year of being a working mom.
The compassion you've shown for my son is simply unmatched. You're so concerned about his self-esteem and you see this amazing brightness in him that I thought perhaps I was the only one to see for a while. You see his compassionate side and his desire to be liked and you are the first to stop me in the hall and tell me that he's had exactly 3 wonderful days in a row at school. When he has bad days you make sure you note down the time and what was happening, not just to tell me, but to try and determine what exactly is causing it. Could it be food related? Transitions? Just being tired?
And knowing that you raised five children (one that just graduated from Harvard) is just another reason that I know you get it. Having five kids turn out well isn't a fluke. You did something right. At the literacy night this week, your stories of the way you read with your kids was inspiring and made me want to scoop up an armful of new books and sit down with my son and read until we fell asleep.
Yes, this year I've gotten to know you and I'm so very thankful that you're in M's life.
So you can understand why I'm taking your retirement so very hard. I can't even talk to you about it without getting big fat stupid tears in my eyes. I hate that. But I hate that you are leaving even more. I don't want you to go. Don't go, ok? Please? Yes, you have more than earned your retirement, but in just two and a half more years we'll be moving up to the next school and you can leave then, ok? Because we need you here.
We need your passion. We need to hear how excited you get when you are telling the kids about the play coming up and when you are extolling the virtues of newspapers and their role in literacy to a handful of parents and when you are congratulating a child on just getting through a week without a major incident.
Just please don't go, we still need you.