| Musings |

The Forgotten Note

I decided that while a thank-you note would be nicer, if a text is all I can do now, it’s better than nothing


t’s already the end of the summer, and I still have not written thank-you notes to my kids’ teachers. Writing notes was going to be one of my summer projects, but I’m not a teacher. Why did I think I would have time for a summer project?

My daughter is not a student. But she fell in love with her teacher this year, and from everything I’ve seen, the feeling was mutual. So when she came home on the last day of school with her report card sporting glowing comments, I felt like a worm; how could I not have acknowledged all her hard work?  How could I not have at least written a note?

After some internal debate, I decided that while a thank-you note would be nicer, if a text is all I can do now, it’s better than nothing. Some acknowledgement is in order. I sent the text and apologized for not sending a proper note. The school year is so busy with homework and projects that somehow, although we’d been preparing for the summer since November (remember camp applications?), and shopping since February, it caught me unawares. I had no time to think about thank-you notes until my kids came home on the last day of school in a flurry of paper, supplies, and nosh.

My daughter’s teacher called me in response, and when we spoke, she told me that it’s okay to send thank-you notes in the summer. They’re still appreciated then. At the time, it sounded so sensible. What a great way to fill my time during the lazy, halcyon days of summer! I could go shopping, wander the aisles until I found pretty stationery, and then write beautiful compositions to each teacher detailing their impact on my children’s lives.

Ha! Lazy summer? Halcyon days? Wander aisles?

For those not fortunate enough to be teachers, let me explain. In the summer, work continues as usual. But the kids are off before camp starts, and they come to work. Good luck trying to focus and accomplish like that. The older ones spend the days at home calling you at work. Fielding their calls while trying to work around the kids overtaking your desk is… not conducive to work.

Finally, the kids start camp, and you look forward to getting something done. But camp starts half an hour later than school starts (since the kids are staying up late at night in the summer), and it’s in the wrong direction, so even though you got to the office solo, you’re also an hour late. And you have work piled up from the week before. And then, when your coworkers take vacation, you get to juggle their workload as well.

Back home, you’re chauffeuring kids to and from swimming lessons, taking them shopping to buy nosh for their trips and late nights, and arranging carpools to pick up from said late nights. (Yes, you paid for busing, but there is no busing for late nights.)

During the school year, the boys are in one school, the girls in another, and the schedules stay consistent long enough to remember them. Not so during the summer. Each sleepaway camp has its own start date, not to mention luggage drop-off and lice check. Then there’s visiting day. Keeping track of who has to be where and when is a full-time job enough to rattle the most chilled mom (something you are not).

The kids still expect supper and clothing. Add in clean bathing suits every morning. They also want new goggles, and tzitzis (they can’t really be expected to come home with all their paraphernalia from swimming, can they?), and it’s your job to make sure the house is stocked with everything from nosh to sunscreen to pizza bagels (you didn’t really expect them to eat what you made for supper, did you?). And they don’t want to come inside and go to bed, because there’s no school tomorrow anyway, and their day starts late. They may as well stay up and raid the pantry and freezer. So after picking up a stray towel, you take out your notebook to start a shopping list with tortilla chips and hot dogs and the other staples the kids can’t survive without.

Notebook. Shopping list. Camp list. Date list. List. List. List. Teacher list. All you’ve done this summer is write lists, you realize. And somehow, we’re at the end of August and the Summer Project looms. There is no stationery. There are no notes. There is absolutely no extra time.

Dear teachers, I’m sorry the thank-you notes did not happen. Maybe when the kids are back in their places, and things settle down, I’ll be able to write you the note you deserve!


(Originally featured in Family First, Issue 857)

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