An Open Letter to My Son Tucker’s Middle School Teachers

Thank you.

Let me introduce myself.

I am “That Mom”, maybe not the mom you are used to.

I am “That Mom”. The one who trusts you and believes in you.

“That Mom”; the one who doesn’t need her hand held or reassurance that you are doing the best for Tucker.

I’m “That Mom” who swears too much, shows up in her PJ’s and has an often unsavory sense of humor.

I’m not going to check in with you and I am not going to question his grades. Because those grades are his grades… not mine. I am not going to hover and I am not going to defend his mistakes.

I fully expect that he will check in with you and he will question his grades and his mistakes. I expect him to falter, trip and maybe or likely fail. I also expect him to pull himself back together, pull his big boy pants on and get himself back up.

I believe that between us, we can get him there; to that point where he is independent, self-reliant and fully understanding that actions result in consequences – both positive and negative.

I hope we can be friends and I don’t expect any quid pro quo… I don’t roll like that.  I trust you and believe that you want the same things I do for Tucker.

I know we pay tuition, but you are all SO happy and I can feel your passion. I see it in your eyes. I see the twinkle and the zest for learning. I see the commitment and I see the love of education in the WHOLE sense and the whole child. I see it and I feel my exhaustion, worry and stress dissipate.

I see the happiness and the passion from my sideline perspective hiding in the back among so, oh… so many overly aggressive and protective parents. I see it clearly from my silent perch every day and I am reassured and I am left feeling content and relieved.

I have come to realize and accept that I’m not an ordinary mom. My ground rules and my expectations have been altered and I’ve had to adjust to accommodate them.

I have brain cancer and our lives are fragile. I may not have the opportunity to see him though his education and through these tumultuous middle and high school years. This is and has not been an easy reality to accept for any of us. However, I feel a great sense of peace with him in your hands and let’s be honest, it’s no small feat finding peace in others caring for and leading your child.

I’ve come to terms and accepted that the best path for Tucker and our children is that they learn to find success on their own terms. I’ve chosen to take a step back. I observe, ask them to self- question and watch as they often falter and fall leaving me to help them find their footing again as they re-direct to find a better route.

I refuse to do the work for them. I wish it wasn’t that diagnosis that brought me so passionately to this place, however it is here that I reside.

I love that Tucker loves middle school. I love that he is not intimidated. I love how he wants to play middle school basketball, yet aside from a huge heart and team spirit, he has little to non-existent talent. I love that he has a zeal for learning and I love that he feels empowered and encouraged to succeed.

I see the wheels turning in his head and I see him treading water each night as he independently manages his homework, studying and responsibilities.

I’m reassured and I thank you.

He is taking cues from each of you and he is thriving thus far.

Thank you.

You have the eldest of my three greatest treasures in your tutelage.

Regardless of any change of status in my cancer, I know he is great hands with those he can feel safe, empowered, encouraged and challenged by each day.

Our private lives are stressful and often chaotic and we deal with the unknowns with what I hope is grace. I tend to keep a distance at school, but wanted you to know that we are so, so grateful for all that you do.

I thank you for providing such a supportive, tough-loving environment for Tucker. WE are thriving as a result.



14 thoughts on “An Open Letter to My Son Tucker’s Middle School Teachers

  1. As I read this letter you wrote it reminds me of David’s letter to God as he gives surrenders his will . Knowing God is incontrol and we have to sit back and pray for wisdom, patience and mercy… I have grown so much reading your blog. Hope one day your children can read this and realize what a gift you are to so many…

  2. Such a great piece here Jen. At the end of every sentence, I found myself saying in my mind, “This is so excellent.” ……and then I’d read another line and say it again. Really great to read — and even better to be mindful of (here at the school year’s start & always!) thanks & love. xo Alex

  3. What a beautiful message Jen! Thank you for sharing. One quality my mom always told me I had that was a good and bad quality is that I trust to easily, but I feel once the twins start preschool here in a couple weeks I will trust their teachers and I expect my kids to figure things out in their own way, with me their for guidance, love, and support as they start this new phase in their life. I truly enjoy your beautiful writing and honesty.

  4. Jen in our crazy, hectic life it always calms and soothes my soul to read your words! They inspire me, and I’m sure so many other moms as well! Thank you for sharing yourself so openly….you are an exquisite writer!

  5. Jen your words are well spoken, honest and right on target!!! It is so,incredibly , unfortunate that you have an underlying force (that piece of shit) that drives so many of your thoughts and decisions BUT many parents should use your technique as an example. You are the RIGHT Mom…..encouraging Tucker to use his own voice and be responsible for his work. I hope many parents read this.
    Sending you love and hugs…Anne

  6. Wow! Love this!!! What a great letter and mentality. As a teacher, it’s wonderful to see…and as a parent something I need to remind myself of. So glad that he loves middle school and learning. Congrats to you, Paul, and the educators in your lives for helping to foster that! Wishing you all a fabulous school year.

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