in loco parentis

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this is our child.

thank you for listening to her.

thank you providing space for her.

thank you for showing up for her.

this is our child.

thank you for noticing her specific sense of humor.

thank you for asking about her opinions and interests and perspectives.

thank you for thinking about ways to help her when she struggles.

this is our child.

thank you for getting up early, taking care of your own family, and being on time every time to greet her kindly.

thank you for brainstorming with us about how to support her during that stretch mid-year when she cried every single day.

thank you for being as excited as we were when she wrote her own sentences, as proud and also concerned when she hung by her knees at the tip-top of the climbing diamond, as smiling without too much praise when she started to share with the whole class in morning meeting.

thank you for saving her in a thousand small and big ways that we may never know about.

this is our child.

and also, for a time, your child.

thank you for loving her when she is utterly amazing, when you are utterly frustrated by her, when you are angry with her, when you are having a fabulous day, when you've just had a fight with your spouse, when you're tired and worried about something, when everything is going well, when you're using every trick in the book to stay calm and not scream your head off, when the freaking copier is broken again and again and again, when you are in the midst of loving many other children too.

thank you for loving our child.

in loco parentis.

in the place of the parents.

this is our child.

how could we possibly ever thank you enough?

we are not alone.

In my arts council work, in my strategy work with schools, in my friend group, I have been witness to some extraordinary, daily acts of love by teachers. At home, too. I'm married to one of the best teachers out there, after all. In loco parentis is a big deal. And I am struck right now by the way so very many people show up for my child in loco parentis: teachers, grandmothers, childcaring friends, colleagues, extended family. We're fortunate and privileged by all that love. If you feel the same, consider sharing this writing or your own words of gratitude. In parenting, it is a gift to know that we are not alone. Xo, Cheryl