The summer’s at an end and both snowflakes are back in school. It’s quite something to watch the school year get started (and blissfully quiet around the house during the day). It wasn’t long before the homework for parents started though, as Snowflake #2’s teacher sent home an assignment asking us to write an email asking us to introduce our child. It was clearly meant to be an alternative to a generic “tell me about your child’s strengths and weaknesses.”
I enjoyed the assignment immensely, maybe even too much. I got into my writer’s rhythm and the next thing I knew, I’d pumped out over 1,000 words. I liked it. I thought it was really entertaining and all, but my lovely red headed wife pointed out that Snowflake #2’s teacher was going to be receiving dozens of replies, so we decided I should pare everything down to the good parts version.
When I say, “we decided,” I don’t mean to imply that I didn’t need to be convinced or that I wasn’t disappointed. I felt the original reply deserved to see the light of day, so I’m posting it below. I can’t guarantee it will be read, but I can’t say the other would’ve been either.
I have to begin this email with an apology. Nine words in and I’m already telling you how sorry I am? Yes, and that’s the rub. You might already be ready to point out the already existing inconsistency. “Nine words in,” you’ll say. “and all you did is tell me you were ready to apologize. You never actually did the apologizing.”
When we get around to discussing this in person, your frustration only grows. Mine does too, if I’m being completely honest. I’ll insist my “need to apologize” actually counted as the apologizing and you as a teacher and sculptor of young minds will insist that it does not. You’ll highlight the differences, probably in kind and rather straightforward terms as good teachers do, but I don’t take this well because I haven’t been sleeping much (more of this in a bit). The frustration continues to grow for both us, and although you’d never do anything intentionally, Snowflake #2 is the one who suffers. Just a little suffering I’m sure, maybe she sees your tension every time there’s a note to send home. Maybe she wonders why I’m only talking with Snowflake #1’s teacher every time there’s a school activity.
So you decide to speak to Snowflake #1’s teacher yourself. You wonder how she’s able to put up with me and then it comes out I’m a writer. Well, not a writer so much as a wanna-be-writer. I’ve been working on something all semester and probably not sleeping much, because that’s something than tends to happen when I’m writing. (I’m using “semester” as a word I’m assuming teachers use regularly. As a non-teacher I’d probably have said, “fiscal quarter,” but I’m in sales in my day job, and you’re talking to Snowflake #1’s teacher at the moment, remember?) Yes. I realize it’s curious why Snowflake #1’s teacher would know my sleeping habits, but even though it’s only 4 days into the semester (the word works in this context, so wanna-be-writer-me is using it too), it’s already clear my other daughter is going to be over-sharing information all year (referring to “school year,” of course, but stating that seems redundant, even to me).
Anyway. The pieces come together. Maybe I’m not the most ridiculous parent EVER, you start to realize or maybe you start to think that I just might be. For whatever reason, for the first time, everything that follows this part in this email starts to make sense. The “why it sounds like a pitch meeting,” the “why it maybe sounds like I’m trying to sell you something,” whatever it is, it all makes sense for the first time.
So without further delay, please allow me to introduce you to my daughter Snowflake. Boy did you luck out to get this one! Maybe the sweetest kid ever. Has been since the day she arrived. There’s downside to this though. You know there’s never a front without a back or a down without an up. The downside here? Snowflake can be a little high strung from time to time.
Let’s focus on the down for a moment. The first time you see an explosion, you’ll probably wonder, “High strung, yes; little, no,” and I’ll apologize for that too. A real apology, just as soon as it happens (Which we both hope never does!). You’ll be amazed at how well she can express herself (shocked, probably) and it’s never more obvious than it is when she’s upset. You’ll be looking for ways to soothe her. Sometimes she might need to take a short walk, it might occur to you while recalling this very sentence. Other times it’s as simple at getting down on her level. Sweet just needs sweet sometimes, I guess.
Sensitivities aside, you’ll otherwise be amazed. Her mother and I always are. It’s all good this time. Great, actually. We weren’t sure how she’d do in such a large class like her kindergarten class. We even considered a private school her. Finally though, we realized she and her sister, Snowflake #1 (Snowflake #1’s teacher’s class, remember), are so invested in being sisters that we didn’t want them to go to different schools. [Their current school] it was. And our worries turned out to be all for nothing. She rose to meet every challenge. She continues to always do so. Hopefully she always will. Doing well grade-wise is nice too, and she’s been awesome here too, but more important is growing as a person. I’m sure you’re already agreeing with us on this.
Our hopes for her for this year are pretty simple: that she continues her love of learning and that she continues to flourish. Maybe that last part isn’t quite so simple, but I hope you know what I mean. Apologies if that’s not as straightforward as I’m thinking it is as I type it. Another real apology too. I think it’s important to point out that she’s always a great friend. We’d like to see this continue too.
Anyway, if you were to talk to [the kindergarten teacher both Snowflakes had], I’m sure the memories are mostly good ones. Sure, the explosions can never be forgotten entirely. If I was going into battle, I’d want [the kindergarten teacher] beside me though. She seems to be able to handle everything that comes her way.
At the end of the year, we hope to be saying similar things about you. We hope you haven’t been overwhelmed and considering private schools yourself. Even if this does happen, I’m absolutely certain Snowflake #2 will be one of the good parts you’ll remember. Her father? Remember, yes. The good parts, maybe not so much.
Okay. I think that’s everything. Hope you have a great year and that you love our daughter… and if I had this to do all over again, I’d also mention her love of art. Put a crayon, marker, or colored pen in her hand and I don’t think she could be happier.
I’m sure you see what I just did there, sneaking in more details at the very end. That really is all for now. I hope you had as much fun reading this as I did writing it.