Dear Mr. Bode

Dear Mr. Bode,

Of all the teacher thank-you notes I’ve written tonight, yours has been the hardest.  You may wonder why you’re even getting one in the first place from that random mom of those decidedly non-athletic triplet kids who showed up in your PE class once a week for the last 5 years.  After all, other than waving at me in carpool and sharing a few laughs in the front office as I waited to meet with a teacher, we really didn’t have an occasion to get to know each other.

But of all the teachers that my boys had the privilege to learn under in their elementary school career, you meant the most to me.

And you may be surprised to know that it had absolutely nothing to do with PE.

You see, Mr. Bode, most days when you saw me in that front office it was because someone had gotten in trouble or wasn’t meeting a teacher’s expectation. And you didn’t know it, or maybe you did, that I was sitting there with a bright smile pasted on the outside but carrying a crushing weight of self-doubt and recrimination on the inside.

I felt I was at the end of my rope.

I felt I wasn’t cutting it as a mom.

I felt the entire school staff hated me.

And then you’d stick your head in the office and in that booming voice that scared the living daylights out of my boys you’d say, “You’re such a great mom” and right then and there I’d be given just that bit of encouragement that I needed to keep putting one foot in front of the other.

And you didn’t just do it once.

You did it every time you saw me.

You have no idea how those words were a lifeline to me.

So from the bottom of my heart, I thank you.

For your support.

For your sensitivity.

For saving me from going completely off the ledge.

And, truthfully, for being one of the few teachers that didn’t send a note home about my kids.

We’re gearing up for a fresh start in middle school next year and while I’m looking forward to the new challenges, I’m a little sad that you won’t be making that transition with me us.  (Can I talk you into changing schools?)  But I’m comforted in knowing that next year there will be another mom sitting in that elementary school office, chewing on the inside of her lip and wondering how she’s going to make it, and you’ll be there, encouraging her.

Thanks, Mr. Bode.

I’ll miss you.



18 responses to “Dear Mr. Bode

  1. Susan, I had a dear older woman who would say those same magical words to me every now and then when my children were older and I was feeling ill equipped at what I was doing. It meant the world to me. So, realizing the power of those few, carefully chosen words I’ve tried to say them, sincerely, to as many moms as I have opportunity over the years. And it’s amazing the visible transition that occurs of their faces when I do. The most frequent response I hear is, “Really? You really think so?” I can hear the doubt and the need for reassurance in their words. “Yes,” I say. I really think so.

    Those are truly needed words. So glad you’ve heard them from this wonderful man. What a precious gift he is giving. Pass it on!

  2. Hang in there. When my son was in kindergarten, we got notes home. every. day. of. the. year. All through elementary school it was much of the same. Middle school was a transition, less notes about behavior, more hardship about his less than ideal grades. My son just finished his first year of high school. I’m happy to report of his 7 teachers, 5 couldn’t pick me out in a line up, and the other 2 only could because 1 met being at the IEP meeting, the other happens to be his track coach. And he made honor roll for the 2nd semester.
    Point being, it does get easier. The peer pressure kicks in and does have an up side.

  3. Carpool Queen

    Somebody say something funny because I am a HOT MESS today.

  4. Oh just smear on some lipstick and put some high heels on and everything will be good. Ok, there is your funny…well maybe it wasn’t too funny. You are the funny one.
    Really, you are an amazing mom and I love to hear stories about all 3 boys.

  5. I hope you sent this letter to Mr. Bode. He may need it as much as you needed his encouragement. Your ARE an awesome mom, and make me SO proud!

  6. And Mr. Bode, you are absolutely right. She is a GREAT mom. Even if she is a hot mess. 😉

  7. Dear Hot Mess,
    Have you checked your brows lately? Are they furrowed? In need of threading, waxing, or waning?

    Just checking.

    And let’s just not discuss bikini line.

  8. Susan, I want you to think about this. My husband is now the director of an international school of kids from 45 countries. He runs the first-ever legally approved private school staffed entirely by believers in this country. And he got about 8 spankings in Kindergarten. There’s hope, Susan, there’s hope! Love you!

  9. What happens if you hug a grape too hard?

    It lets out a little whine.

  10. I know, I love him, too! You are a great mom. You are a tribute to all things “mom”. I adore your boys. That was fantastic!

  11. That made me cry, Susan!! So love this letter to Mr. Bode.

  12. That’s a wonderful letter. I’m sure you made his day. No, year. Who wouldn’t like to receive a letter like this?

  13. Rachel Treichler

    I hope you sent this letter to him! I know he would love to read a sincere, heartfelt note like this and know he made a difference. Cause at the end of the day, that should be the goal of all educators! And you are a great mom…keep on keepin on girlfriend!

  14. What an encouragement that must have been to you each time! And what an encouragement you are to Mr. Bode!

  15. Precious! I’ve known a teacher or 2 like that, and will never forget them. I wonder if it’s too late to let them know…

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