I sat in the car pool line at preschool waiting for Lucy; her teacher Gillian held her hand as they walk towards the car. I could tell Lucy was about to cry, holding it all in, but just barely.
"I have a pretty present for you!" she wailed the second Gillian opened the door.
"Yes, Lucy has a present for you but it isn't quite ready yet, right? It will be okay Luce." she replied with an even voice, almost no emotion.
I laughed, knowing it had been the third time that week Lucy had cried when it was time to leave school. Each day held a different reason for all the emotion of devastation that my four year old girl feels. Feelings are so big at this age and I would venture to say even bigger for Lucy whose joys are as great as her sorrows. I always wondered how this part of her would play out at school when there are lots of kids with lots of different needs.
She needed understanding, strength and guidance all at the same time.
Just days later we found ourselves at the park, playing pretend as all roads lead to this game.
"Mom, you be the girl and I'll take you to school, okay?" she instructed.
I nodded and followed along.
"Now honey, have a good day at school! Be a listening girl and Miss Brea and Gillian will take good care of you, okay?" she mimicked my speech. I smiled.
She stopped the play. "Mom, let's get my teachers a pretty present for Christmas okay?" she insists.
I agree and wish I had about a hundred pretty presents to give these women. Sometimes when you are in the trenches of parenting, you wonder if anyone can see what you see. Maybe it is that you hope they will pick up where you lack, and love all the parts of your kid the way you do, even the hard ones.
The day I found out Brea and Gillian would be Lucy's teachers I just knew they were a gift to us both. The tattoos and a tiny nose ring combined told stories of strong and yet tender women who know what it means to choose the life you want. They embraced Lucy's strength while I still struggle to know my own and learn how to parent someone so different from me. They have offered boundaries yet still held space for her delightful spirit. They have helped her wield her power and remind me to keep my compassion. They have loved her well.
I feel all kinds of grateful for the village this holiday season. It is the kind of tribe that shows you how to live by standing beside you and jumping in to invest in love on so many levels. The place where we gather together and wish pretty presents could be enough to express our gratitude and love.
Who are you feeling grateful for investing in your child this holiday season? What pretty present are you wishing for them? It's like your very own talk show dedication in our comment section today.