Notes: The Note I Wish I Would Have Sent to the Teachers at My Children’s New School

Instead, I chickened out. Now, I’ll never be able to woo them all in one fell swoop with a funny note.

I deserve to have to eat those Gogurts myself.

September 6, 2015

Dear Teachers at ACS,

My friend Amanda Purvis finally convinced me to get my kids signed up at ACS and we’re here now, but I’m pretty confused and overwhelmed about the whole school/education thing.  I’ve only been a mom for two years, so basically, I have no idea what I’m doing or what I’m supposed to be doing. I’m trying to figure it all out but lots of days I just plain mess it up. Sorry about coming late to carpool or opening the classroom door before it was time. As I mentioned, I have no clue what I’m supposed to do. But you have all been so gracious to my children and I. Amanda was right- ACS is amazing. You guys are amazing and you do a great job. Everyone always smiles at us. Everyone knows my kids names (Vaughn and Eloise if you couldn’t place me) and everyone acts like we belong even if we feel like we don’t yet. Anyway, thanks for all your hard work!

I really wanted to reward you hard work when I signed up to bring you two dozen donuts and 36 yogurt cups. I had visions of going to the Donut House and getting you two dozen of the best donuts in town. Since I go to Costco regularly, I figured it wouldn’t be a problem to get a couple boxes of those nice Chobani yogurts for you all. I mean, you work hard; you deserve a great donut and a “healthy” yogurt for breakfast.

But guess what, it’s suddenly Tuesday night and tomorrow is the breakfast and I haven’t been to Costco in a month (Labor Day, sick baby, husband out of town). I did go to the Donut House this morning, but it was for the sole purpose of obtaining myself two donuts- a chocolate ring for now and a cinnamon sugar donut for later. The reminder of my commitment to you came up at 6:00 PM tonight when I ate my second donut and I sadly realized I wasn’t going to be able to get you those donuts. So I was left with no choice but to go to the grocery store. I got you the donuts I signed up for, but not the donuts I wanted to get you. I’m sorry. But I’m really sorry that in my haste and disappointment I accidentally bought Gogurt instead of real yogurt. Who does that? Who buys teachers Gogurt??!! To show them their appreciation??? Sorry. Again.

So enjoy your Gogurt and your grocery store donuts and if nothing else maybe you will get a laugh the next time you see the kids in the lunchroom struggling to open their Gogurts.

Thanks for all you do and if there happen to be any Gogurts left, could you send them home with Vaughn? I have no idea when I will get to Costco next.

With sincere appreciation,

Celina Baldwin

(new mom/no clue)

Thinking of sending someone you’ve failed repeatedly a note to try and win them over? Don’t be like me and miss the opportunity by just sending a sorry handwritten note on an old grocery list that says, “so sorry! I accidentally bought Gogurts. Anonymous” and then apologize profusely to the well kept, smiling, coffee drinking mom receiving the goods at the front door at 7:00 AM

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Notes: To My Future Daughter-in-Law

Dear [Future] Daughter-in-law,

I have thought of you often, since the day my boy entered my world when he was 15 years old. You already know Zac’s story- adopted out of foster care at an “unadoptable” age. He’s been my boy since the day I laid eyes on him and your husband is my son, but he’s no longer my boy. I don’t know your story yet, but I pray often for you that whatever life is throwing at you that you know Jesus is holding you near.

You don’t have to prove your worth with me. You have my respect. I hope that I always make you feel precious and smart. Because you are. And I get to see your brilliance unfold as it will in this new season. You are one of my children now. You are one of my daughters. We’ll share secrets. We’ll share recipes. And we’ll share love. You’ll be the mother of my grandchildren and that is a love that neither of us will be able to measure! I want you to know that I told Zac to keep close watch over you after you have your baby, I’ve told him what an honor it will be that he gets to change your baby’s diapers and hold your baby in the middle of the night.


God gave me a significant time in my son’s life to nurture him as mothers do. I wiped away tears, I kissed his face, I held him close to model gentleness. I taught him how to listen by letting him be heard. I showed him warmth so that his heart would stay soft. I gave him thoughtful notes and gifts. I asked him endless questions, with hope that he would know this important side of the female mind. I did all these things because it’s the great joy of being a mom to a son. I did these things with you in mind because no matter what your story is, I know you deserve a wonderful husband. I want you to know that Zac has learned the value of housework from us. I often tell him that “the most romantic thing that you can do for your wife around the house is help cook and clean, and clean some more.” That may not seem romantic to you in the early stages of your relationship, but as your life changes with babies and work, I know you’ll thank me for instilling this value for seemingly mundane work in him.


Mother and son

From my own life, I want you to know this: marriage is sacred. Your marriage is sacred and I respect that with all my heart. For me to let my own chapter close is hard. I’ll forget sometimes that he’s no longer my boy. Please forgive me.

This story is now yours. You will know my son in a way that I do not. I am grateful. My son will be your knight in shining armor, your protector, your provider. What you share with him is everything that my son deserves. Everything that you deserve. Everything that you’ve both worked for.

I can’t wait to walk this road with you. Know that you always have my love!


Your [Future] Mother-in-love

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Notes: To My 36 Year Old Hurting Soul

Dear 36 year old hurting soul, 

You have survived many things: running from rebels, homelessness, molestation, physical abuse, emotional abuse, psychological abuse, neglect. Each night you pray to the most high to take the hurt.
Many of your friends do not know what poverty did to you. It is easy to end physical poverty but spiritual poverty is hard to eradicate especially when the experience was before age 5.
Many days you are left helpless and with a bleeding soul. Your daily struggles are not in vain.

Pain and Hurt. There are things I experienced before the age of 5 that linger on in my life even now. I am a grown woman with a family and a career, by all definitions- successful. And yet poverty still has a grip.

You hurt not because you won’t let go.

You won’t let go because you don’t know how.
You don’t know how because it is too deep.
You don’t know how deep because it peels in layers.
You don’t know how much is left to peel because it’s every day.
You don’t know when everyday will end.
You are not alone. You are special. You are valued. You are created. You will not forget the hurt. You will nail the hurt to the cross. You will rise again.
But for now, dear self, it is time to share your hurt so others can share the hurt to create a connectedness of eternal healing that can only be found in being one with the creator.
The Creator wants it ALL TODAY and EVERYDAY!!

This letter is from my friend Olive. As you can see from her letter grew up in poverty (in Uganda, Africa). Olive is an overcomer and a fighter. She is not defined by what poverty stole from her, but rather what God has done with her pain and what she can give back. She asked us to discuss how we as a neighborhood can help solve the problem that poverty creates. As you can see from her note to herself- poverty is not just going without food or medicine, there is a poverty of the soul that is created through physical poverty. Poverty steals from the soul. And it especially steals from children. It may seem like a huge problem that we can’t solve, but there is something that each of us can do. What is your part? Give us your best action item.

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Notes: To My Mother

Dear Mom,

I want to be someone who says all the things that need to be said before it’s “too late”. I want everyone to know before I die or they die or we go our separate ways how I felt about them, so here is a little note to you so you can get a glimpse into how I feel about you.

I want to be known by my friends and family as their biggest fan. I learned that from you. If I have a fan club you are the president, CEO and every acting member. Every move I have ever made you’ve cheered me on. I’ve never once questioned whether you were in my corner. Never. When I made mistakes- big and small, you let me go into it, but you never let me fall on my face without warning me and then reminding me that you were on my team. Whether it was a blog launch, an adoption, a house purchase, or a job change I knew you were there holding up the “You can do it Celina” banner.

Here you are holding an actual “You can do it Celina” banner from that one time I ran a marathon.


Thanks, Mom for teaching me what it means to be a cheerleader by being my biggest fan.

Mom, thanks for moving to Colorado to be with us. I know it was a risk for you guys to move across the country- again! And whether I could have admitted it or not, we did need you here. Having three kids in nine months was a mind-blowing experience. I had no idea when we were in the thick of it just how hard it was for me. But it was hard and you did everything you could to help ease my burden. Thank you for putting up with ‘pregnant Celina’, ‘I’m a new mom and I actually have no freaking clue Celina’ and ‘hey let’s start a business and I might not be nice to you Celina’. All the versions of myself you’ve endured- always- with grace. Thank you.

Thanks for starting Shabby with me. It really has been fun since I started taking anti-depressants. I have a good feeling we’re on the verge of really figuring this out in a new way and being able really do this! It’s exciting. And it really is great doing this with you because you are someone who I can mess up with and I know after the mess is made you’ll still be there. We’ve made a couple messes- haven’t we? Remember that time our tent nearly blew away? That sucked. I liked how you said that day that when you were looking at me holding down the tent with all my strength and my stress level was at a hundred million- that it was like looking in a mirror. It was, wasn’t it? We’re alike in so many ways. Good ways. Bad ways. Funny ways. Speaking of funny. We’re so funny together. I love laughing with you. I love that I really make you laugh. I hope Eloise feels that way about me. I hope that she knows that her mom thinks she’s one of the funniest people. I feel like you are someone who really knows how funny I am and because that is a major piece of who I am, it means a lot that you really get it.

Thanks for being willing to grow with me. Each time I enter a phase of new growth you are always right there cheering me on and being willing to take steps to also grow. Not all mothers are willing to do that, but you’re always game for anything. I really like that about you.

I know that raising two kids alone was hard. I’m sorry for that. Thanks for working your butt off to provide for us. Thanks for sacrificing so that we could have what we needed. And while we’re talking about how hard you worked, let me tell you something and I hope you take this seriously: you are a great mom. No, not even great. Amazing. You rock. You did a great job with us. And of course you didn’t do everything perfectly. And of course you failed miserably. And of course things you did hurt me. But I don’t blame you for my failures. I don’t blame you for messing up at being a mom. Now that I’m a mom I see that messing up is just part of the gig. I hope you look back at the days of raising us and know that there was grace for every mistake and the love you gave us filled in the spaces your mistakes and failures created. You love Jonathan and I well.


Speaking of loving well. I love how you love my kids. It really does help me to see you in a new light when I see you loving the kids. Especially Avett since we’ve all had him since he was born- I can see how much you must have loved us and delighted in us when we were little. And I can see that the love you give them is just an extension cord of the love you have for me. Not that you love me less. No. I’m pretty sure the kids were just a power surge in your love for me and that because of them all of my mistakes are forgiven. Like I gave you a gift so big you had to forgive me for all my errant ways.


Finally, thanks for just being who you are. I like that you are a human being and I like getting to know you as a human. It’s crazy to work through all the dynamics of a mother/daughter relationship only to find that the person who you’ve wrestled with for years is really your best friend. Thanks for wrestling with me. Thanks for putting up with me and thanks for being my friend.


I love you, Momma.


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