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Communication Is Key  

I know that you know that I know that you know that we’re all just doing the best we can over here

I'M a big fan of keeping the lines of communication wide open between myself as a parent and my children’s teachers. After all, aren’t we partners? Shouldn’t partners share their thoughts and feelings? Besides, there’s no such a thing as too much communication, is there?

Here are a few of the letters I’ve been meaning to write:

Dear Teacher,

I know you see my son’s lunch every day, and I know that, as of late, it probably looks like I have little imagination when it comes to planning his weekly lunch menu. Or perhaps it seems there must have been a massive sale on frozen pizza a few months ago, and I’m just trying to get rid of the excess.

I’d like to let you know that frozen pizza is all my child will eat for lunch right now. That’s it.

He does occasionally eat other food at home, but for lunch on the go, it’s pizza or nothing.


Not the Lazy Mom I Appear to Be

(For those readers who are reading this and thinking, “Why are you explaining yourself to the teacher who probably doesn’t notice or judge what your child is eating for lunch?”

I have to tell you that I also toss an apple into his lunch each morning only to have the apple return home in the afternoon slightly more bruised than when it left but overall happy to have gone on its daily outing, just so the teacher knows I am aware of what a healthy diet for a child is supposed to include.)

Dear Bus Driver,

I wake up early to make sure I have enough time to get my children fed and dressed and ready for school. This morning when I finished getting the last one dressed, and started handing out jackets so we could make our way down three flights of steps to wait for the bus, one child was nowhere to be found.

After a frantic two minutes, I discovered that he had undressed himself and put his pajamas back on because he still felt tired. In a feat that could only be described as super-human-panic-speedy-fast, we got that child dressed and down the steps to join his brothers, wildly out of breath but almost on time for the bus.

What I’m trying to say is, thanks for waiting on the corner for us.


Some Days It Just Goes Like That

Dear Rebbi,

I’m so glad that my child did something prize-worthy in class today. And I’m so glad that you have acknowledged this by giving him a prize. And I’m so glad that he has only the highest regard for you as a rebbi and love for the subject you teach.


You gave him a toy whistle as a reward, and I was just wondering if it’s possible you did not give this special gift enough thought before bestowing it upon my child.

It’s a whistle.

And it makes So. Much. Noise.

Like, so much.

Have you perhaps considered shiny stickers? Key chains? Cool pens?

Literally anything else will do. Really.

Thank you,

A Truly Grateful Mother

Dearest Morah,

I think it is time to have a frank talk about mitzvah notes. Can we please take a moment to acknowledge that this is creative writing at its best, and I know that you know that I know that you know that we’re all just doing the best we can over here?

I appreciate you reading each mitzvah note with enthusiasm, as once again I have written that my son “played so nicely with his brother,” which is both not particularly exciting and also only true some of the time. However, we are very proud of them during those ten minutes of peaceful play, and it should be duly noted.

There are times when I am so hard-pressed to come up with something to write that I’m tempted to send in, “Our four-year-old did not eat ever min hachai today, and we couldn’t be prouder.”

There was also that time that he remembered he needed a mitzvah note once we were already downstairs waiting for the bus that would be arriving in two minutes, and while I had previously thought there was no way I would be able to run up three flights of steps, write a mitzvah note, and make it back down before the bus came, when he told me through his tears that he would get something extra special in school if he brought a note in that day, I made it happen.

And by making it happen, I mean I sent in a note that read,

“Today my son encouraged his mother to get in some unscheduled early morning cardio. What he lacks in advance planning, he makes up for in last-minute motivation. We are so proud of him.”

Thank you for being so understanding and for helping us teach our son about the value of a mitzvah and the notes they warrant. (To be honest, I too would love the things I do to be recorded, applauded, and rewarded daily or even weekly. Let me know if we can make this a thing.)


A Mom Who Wouldn’t Mind a Mitzvah Note Herself


I haven’t sent these letters in yet, but I feel quite strongly that I should, and that when I do, they should be read and appreciated and possibly even saved.

Maybe they’ll even send me a prize, which would be so great.

But no whistles, please.


(Originally featured in Family First, Issue 797)

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