Last week I received letters from each of my children's teachers. And each one resulted in tears. My tears, not my children's tears.
Neither letter contains anything that signifies the end of the world. Neither is beyond remedying. So why the tears? Worse than the tears--why the ache in my heart and stomach?
I'm not one of those "helicopter mothers." While of course I take pride in my children's accomplishments (geez, they are 8 & 5, accomplishments sounds a bit much, no?), I don't live through them. So what on earth is my deal?
I thought about it all weekend. I think that I'm particularly sensitive to any hint of rebuke from teachers because of an incident that happened when I was in first grade. I was shy (and anxious!) and did not want to read aloud to the class when called upon. I can still see the illustration accompanying the text about a mail man in my mind's eye. The teacher called me to her desk, and asked me to bring my reader. She took the reader from me, as punishment, and I recall going back to my desk crying. I didn't go home and tell my parents; they eventually heard it from the teacher herself at parent-teacher night. My mother, also a teacher, was furious that I'd had a book taken from me.
After letting the tears out, and having lots of time on Yom Kippur to ponder this, I re-read the email from my daughter's teacher. I can see that I read the note as an indictment of my parenting. Add that to my sensitive nature, and this apparently unresolved first grade incident, a 24 hour fast, and boom. It ain't pretty. I hope that I can excise the hurt that I am still carrying around, and figure out how to hear from my children's teachers without reverting to that crying first grader.