Teacher Gifts, Motherhood and a Few Tears

Today you get a bit of practical teacher gift giving advice tempered with a reflection on motherhood. How bittersweet it is.

Crafting and coming up with practical (and inexpensive) teacher gifts has become something of a challenge for me every year. ¬†Between the kids, we have nine teachers and aides. Throughout the year, I’m always on the lookout for something that might make the teacher’s day easier, an interest that isn’t super obvious or a practical gift I know they’ll appreciate. I hope these ideas inspire you to shop from your house, be creative, honor your teachers and not spend a lot of moula doing it.

Personalized Stationery
I found these lovelies from Olliegraphic. Last year, she created the custom colors on the school uniforms and added the teacher’s name. Included are flat and folded cards, letterhead and a notepad. Meg provides the PDF files, I printed on cardstock and copy paper (10 of each one), put it into a $1.99 clear folder from The Container Store and burned a CD with the files so the teacher can reprint when needed. The ribbon just makes it a little more festive. The kids also included a handwritten thank you note to the teacher.

stationery, blog_002

The Pen Flower Pot
This isn’t an original idea, but I do think it’s brilliant. Luke was part of the Fish Class at school, so we used his hand to paint the fish, I added the bubbles and wrote his class name at the top. We added some pinto beans, wrapped pens and flowers with floral tape I got at Michael’s and voila – instant pens for school sign-in. I noticed the teachers were always searching for pens for the sign-in book. Luke and I had a blast making this for them.

teacher gift

Gift Cards
Those are always a hit, especially when you find the “just-right” store for your teacher. We’ve purchased them from various places and you can get as creative or as simple on the presentation. I think Landee created some wonderfully creative, and frugal, presentation ideas on her blog for gift card teacher gifts.

Teacher Gift Bucket List title


Now, for your reflection.

I’ve never forgotten this quote from a mom I greatly admire, “Motherhood is bittersweet. With every new skill your child acquires, you begin to realize it’s one less thing they rely on you for.” So yes, the pride is always there, always at the forefront. Then comes the bittersweet taste of seeing your children grow into the human beings God intended. It is indeed a beautiful sight.

Last week was Luke’s last one in the two-year-old class. I’m not sure any milestone with him will ever be easy, nor will I ever take one for granted. His first day was beautiful, and hard, in so many ways. While walking away from his room was one of the most difficult things I’ve ever done, it was the right thing to do. He has FLOURISHED this year. His eating is better. His speaking is better. His social skills are better (and I didn’t think that was even possible with Mr. Personality!) I’ve seen him bound into the classroom, with a quick hug and kiss, and then turn to the excitement of the day. It has been nothing short of amazing.

I never, ever thought that day would come.

There were days when I would sit in the NICU, rocking him, wondering. “Will this child ever experience the normalcy of life?” Will he be happy? Do I have the strength to endure this journey with him? You don’t want to know my answers back then.

And you know what? At every turn, EVERY TURN, God’s hand has been so incredibly obvious. Our year at Luke’s school was no exception.

fish class, blog_008

The last day has been circled on the calendar for so long. I kept thinking, “Oh, that’s forever away. And, when it does come, I will be a-ok.” And then the last day came and I found myself in disbelief at the beauty of God’s plan for Luke this year. He gifted us with two crazy amazing teachers, Ms. Anne-Marie and Ms. Amber. I told them I was trusting them with my heart. So when they both told me what an honor and a privilege it was to have him, I broke down. You see, when you fight so damn hard for your child to live, you don’t expect the happy moments, the beautiful ones, to bring you back down to your knees in thanksgiving. Y’all, I darn near lost it in that hallway as Luke clutched his backback in one hand and my hand in the other. I managed to make it to the parking lot before completely falling apart.

“Mommy, why you sad?” I heard from the back seat.

“Mommy’s not sad, buddy, these are happy tears,” I replied. “Because you are a rockstar.”

“Yep,” came the voice behind me.

Another milestone is in the preemie book of Luke’s life. I’m the proud mom, standing in the corner with a Kleenex and the entire Aggie student section cheering.



  1. Meggan on May 28, 2013 at 8:15 am

    Oh, man! That was my ugly cry for the week. It was a beautiful reflection, though (of course). Even with my full term, no complications two year old, I find myself torn between that burst of pride when he does things with independence and confidence, and that twinge of sadness knowing he needs me just a little bit less. I can’t imagine how those feelings (on both ends of the spectrum) are magnified with Luke. He is indeed a rock star!

  2. Kelly Daniel on May 28, 2013 at 9:16 am

    I have 28 week twins who are now 19 months old and I’m in the same spot. We have been checking out preschools for next school year and I realized that they are at a point where I can choose whether to disclose their preemie status or not. Based on their latest developmental results, I don’t have to tell anyone they were born three months early. Sitting on a playground, watching them run around with a bunch of other kids 18 months – 5 years old, I realized that no one will know unless I tell them.

    Now I just have to decide whether it’s time to let them “outgrow” that part of their lives, or to share it one more time.

    • Kathryn on May 28, 2013 at 9:18 am

      That is tough, but so awesome they’re doing so well! I hope their transition to school is a beautiful one, for all three of you.

  3. Holly on May 28, 2013 at 9:19 am

    Great teacher gift ideas, and a BEAUTIFUL reflection, definitely a tear-jerker! Thanks again for sharing. Such a great reminder of the truly important things in life.

  4. verdinalouisa on May 28, 2013 at 9:19 am

    Once again… I’m blown away! Luke is definitely a rock star and he definitely has a rock star mother!

    God bless you all!


  5. Michelle F. on May 28, 2013 at 12:21 pm

    Congratulations on another milestone! As a mother of one labeled “special needs” child and others who definitely qualify in one way or another, I can tell you there is no “normal” life. As many have said and a good religious sister once told me, leave “normal” for the setting on the dryer. There are a million ways to live one’s own “typical” life and a billion ways your son will live a beautiful life – no matter what may come…He is a rockstar, and so are you, Momma! Let us know what to pray for in regards to his upcoming surgery. Thanks for sharing Luke and your family with us via your blog.

  6. Amber O on May 30, 2013 at 2:02 pm

    Getting to know Luke was the highlight of my year. He is such a tough little dude, always ready to play and explore. He also has THE BEST hugs ever. I will miss him and can’t wait to see him in the halls next year.

    Give him hugs from Ms. Amber

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