I have a mere five days left as the lead teacher to 16 two year olds. I’ll be taking six of them to continue the journey in preschool. But, man, two year olds. They are all the things. And I’ve loved them.
So though they will probably never read this, this is a letter to them.
To my sweet, sassy, snuggly, silly and never really that silent, two year olds:
For your last year as two year olds, you have been my life. I have changed your diapers, helped you go potty, fed you, been peed on, pooped on and bled on, I have talked you through tantrums and sadness, I have helped you go to sleep, I’ve helped you explore and learn and laugh. I’ve been hit, kick, punched, slapped and spit on by you. I’ve grown tired of you screaming my name and missed you when you are gone.
I know A LOT about each of you. I know what your body looks like when you are tired, hungry, sick. I know your real laugh from your fake laugh, I know what holds your attention or what doesn’t. I know what friends you like and those with whom your body needs space. I know that your Monday attitude is different than your Thursday attitude and I know that even though you don’t want me to leave at three, that means it’s sooner for your moms and dads to come.
I see a lot in each of you. One of you is going to be someone who celebrates people well, another is going to use her inevitable popularity to show kindness to those who need it. I believe in this group of tiny humans lies an engineer, a musician and a veterinarian. I see an activist; one my most stubborn, using their skills for good. I see teachers and professors. I see some epic storytellers and writers and creators.
I see that each of you have the ability to change the world around you.
I think, I hope, that in the last year (or two) that you’ve been with me that you’ve learned a few things. One, is to be kind. When you hit, bite, steal a friend’s toy, I hope you’ve learned compassion from me (though you can’t fully comprehend it). I hope that you’ve learned to hope and dream. That you’ve picked that up in your tiny human bodies.
I hope you’ve learned from me that you are born to be loved.
Because you are. And so many people love you. You each have a village of moms and dads and teachers and grandmas and grandpas and aunts and uncles and neighbors and friends that love you.
I hope you’ve learned from me to show up for your life no matter what. I hope you become adults who choose to do the damn thing. Who choose to be present and not perfect.
Who choose to live.
And I hope (albeit maybe NOT in such a dramatic fashion) that you continue to learn to be humans who express their emotions.
Because of all the things I’ve hope you’ve learned from me; this is what I’ve learned from you. I KNOW beyond a shadow of a doubt when you are feeling: happy, tired, silly, frustrated, sad, mad. You might not know all the verbiage but you express the emotions.
See, as adults, we lack the ability, most of the time, to do that. To put it in your terms: we don’t give our bodies space.
Thank you, for being constant reminders to do that. Thank you for being reminders to let myself feel. Thank you for the practice of labeling your emotions, so that I in turn label my own. I’ll never forget when one of you, upon me asking a rhetorical question of, “who do I need to take care of?”, responded with a singularly word, “you”.
Thank you for helping me pause. For in MY moments of frustration, squeezing my cheeks or giggling, or offering me ice coffee. Thank you for teaching me to breathe.
And lastly, but in no way least: thank you for being safe with me. For running to me with open arms, for reaching out to me when you were tired or sad or scared. For wanting to hold my hands when we danced.
Thank you for allowing me to apart of your year of two. I can’t wait to see what I will learn from you next.