An Open Letter to the Parents in my Child’s First Grade Class

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I am deeply sorry. Truly. I humbly ask you for your forgiveness, though I surely do not deserve it.

My transgression is one that I’m sure you believe to be inexcusable. I agree. Had I been on the receiving end I’d think the same thing. I’d be cursing your name, gossiping about you, and questioning your ability to function in society, let alone raise children in one. Please believe me that I know what I did was wrong. It was a mistake. An honest mistake made in a mother’s rush.

I am so sorry that I hit “Reply All” in response to the email asking for Halloween party volunteers.

You see, I never get to volunteer for school day events. As you know from my email, my work schedule rarely allows me to get to school while it’s in session. I long to experience the climate of my daughter’s school while the students are there. I desperately want to see her interact with her classmates and teachers. If I could be a fly on the wall of my children’s classrooms, I would spend all day spying on them. So when I realized that I actually could volunteer for this event, my excitement caused me to act in haste.   

Please know that this one act does not define me. I (almost) never do this. In fact, when I saw an email at work recently that asked people to kindly respond only to the sender and not to all, I scoffed. What heathens were on this email list that would need such a reminder? What kind of adult doesn’t know that no one else cares whether they are attending a meeting? By my own standards, I am one of those heathens in need.

The minute I received a “Delivery Failure” notification, the first thing I felt was confusion. How could my email have failed when I’m simply replying to an … Ohhhh, noooooo. If I could have taken back what I’d done just a moment before, I would have. But that’s not how life works, is it? Decisions, mistakes, actions made in a split second do not get a do-over. Think of the utopia we would live in if they did.

I understand if my infraction ostracizes me from the PTA or earns me a cold shoulder at birthday parties. Sure, I could argue that my intent was not to inform you all of my work schedule or my willingness to send in a healthy snack for the party, but that doesn’t really matter, does it? Negligence, after all, is just as alarming as a flagrant misuse of email.

All I ask is that you not force my daughter to pay for my mistake. Sure, she’s posted random YouTube videos to my Facebook page and accidentally called folks and left them 6 minute voicemail messages, but believe me when I say that she would never do this. I’d like to say it’s because I have raised her well, but, after tonight’s incident, many of you will likely assume she was just lucky enough to be born with character more becoming than her mother’s.

Regardless, please don’t allow a child to suffer for the sins of her mother. I beg you, fellow first grade parents that I have wronged, please don’t cancel playdates with my daughter or skip her name when writing birthday party invitations (unless it’s at Chuck E. Cheese, and then feel free to “lose” her invite). I promise to do better next time.

All I can do now is ask for your forgiveness. If it helps my case, please know that this incident has left me with a greater sense of empathy. No longer will I be filled with a fiery rage when I receive an email that I, under no circumstances, needed to read. Instead of assuming that the sender has deliberately shattered the laws of email etiquette, or, perhaps worse, lives in a bubble and is unaware of it, I will consider alternatives. Perhaps, it was a simple mistake and I shall react with kindness. Unless someone sends me a group text. Then it’s war.

Yours in Regret,

Teresa

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