It’s such a cliche, but raising a kid really does go by so quickly. When you bring your newborn bundle home, those days are so very long that it is impossible to believe people when they tell you not to blink. But, it’s true, you shouldn’t blink. Somehow I find myself getting ready to send my first born, the little girl who made me a mom, off to college. When you have a graduating high school senior, you get some homework assignments to complete. The largest of these assignments is creating a senior poster for your kiddo. You get to troll through the 789,000 photos that you’ve taken of your kid to pick the very most share-worthy. While it’s a daunting task, a literal trip down memory lane, it is a necessary emotional journey to help you wrap your brain around the years, months, days, hours and minutes that you’ve spent nurturing your little person in order to get ready to birth them into the world. As I was looking back through the years, a certain group of amazing people stood out. These were the people who were tasked with nurturing my child and caring for her for hours upon hours, all while doing the exact same for many other kiddos—each with very different needs and backgrounds. You guessed it, sports fans. I’m talking about her teachers.

Miss Nancy was my daughter’s very first teacher. We attended a Mommy and Me class at the Mountain Resource Center in Conifer. This class was a Godsend for the mother of a busy toddler. We spent the first part of the class playing and singing songs with our kiddos. Then, for the second part, the moms all got together behind privacy glass to talk about parenting topics while the amazing teachers spent time with our kids. It was here that I learned about Love and Logic (or parental jedi mind tricks as I lovingly called it). Aine, my daughter, would refuse to put her doll away when it was clean up time. Miss Nancy was so sweet about this and would just smile and support my girl. She understood that Aine felt safer holding onto her baby. I sold Miss Nancy’s house for her last year and we had such fun sharing our memories of that special time.

For preschool, both of my kids attended the Little White Schoolhouse in Conifer. What a special small-town experience that was for all of us. I loved that the walls were covered in photos of all of the kids who had gone to that school for years upon years. Mrs. Koch, Mrs. Strain and Mrs. Trealor knew exactly how to focus the energy of a little 3-year-old away from global devastation into a force for good. I still shake my head at how they greeted a room full of preschoolers with smiles every single day. Can you imagine? I loved being around their calming influence and spending time with all of my kids’ friends in such a loving, warm place. And I still get to see those teachers at the grocery store today!

The elementary school years were filled with more heroes than I can possibly include in this little musing. These teachers made my kids love learning. Think about that. What a gift. Each teacher had clever ideas for teaching all manner of topics. But what really amazed me was how these teachers could walk the line between maintaining classroom order and nurturing delight and wonder. I will always have a soft spot in my heart for Miss Susan, who was the school nurse. How she could repair a sick kid with a moment of peace, a tiny cup of water and a little package of saltines, I’ll never understand. But it was a magical thing to witness.

Middle school. Seriously. I don’t know how any of us got out of there alive. And I certainly don’t know how teachers CHOOSE to teach those complicated, hormone addled, socially awkward tweens. They willingly walk through those doors every day. Seriously. I don’t think I’m ready to talk about those years yet. Check back with me in another five years and we’ll see how I feel.

Which brings me to the last four years of school. The academic vigor at this school has made Conifer High School one of the top schools in the State of Colorado. Not only that but it provides my kids with their own community. Not a school day has gone by when I’m not regaled by stories from the classroom. Every single story features a teacher who I only know by their last name: Volzke, Watson, Kragel, Paxton. Then there are the ladies in the office, my friends, who provided a home away from home for my daughter when she needed it most. I appreciate you!

I am grateful for each and every one of my kids’ teachers. You have helped my kids become critical thinkers and lifelong learners. You have no idea how many dinner table conversations you’ve inspired, whether it was about the topic my kids were learning or the environment they were learning in, you have provided endless fodder. And I hope you know that you are my heroes.