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On Friday, September 21st, I wrote out the final check to my daughter's daycare provider. It was a typical Friday afternoon. As usual, I pulled into her driveway at around 5:00 P.M. on my way home from work. I sat in my car for an extra moment and wrote out the check for the following and final week of daycare service. (My daughter's last day actually ended up being Thursday the 27th, because I went into labor that night and gave birth to my twin sons on the Friday. That is a story for another date though.) While writing out the last check I actually started to tear up and I cried.
I was surprised at myself. I pulled myself together quickly but sat and thought about it for a moment. Why did I cry? Wasn't it a good thing that I didn't have to spend that much money each week anymore? Isn't it nice that I get to stay at home and take care of my children for myself from now on? Hadn't I come to terms with this new arrangement of my life months ago? The answer to these three questions...Yes. Absolutely. I cried because I love my daughter's daycare provider and knew a chapter was closing in our lives, possibly forever, and it made me sad.
My daughter had been going to this in-home daycare since she was seventeen weeks old. This was the only provider she had ever known and her whole experience was a wonderful one. When I found out I was pregnant with my daughter, I knew that this daycare was the only one I wanted her to go to and called to get on the list right away. I had known this woman since my twelve year old son was in kindergarten. He is best friends with her son of the same age. My two older sons went to her daycare after school for a couple of years before they became old enough to stay home alone. I trust her more than almost anybody else with my children and that is saying something. I know I can be difficult, controlling, particular and opinionated when it comes to my children. In the past, I have been compared to a tiger when it comes to the well-being of my "cubs", and I am quite okay with it. I never had to worry about them when they were with her. I am now, and will be, forever grateful.
But how do you thank someone enough for this service? How will I ever be able to let her know how much I appreciate her? Are there even words in existence that will mean enough? She looked after three of my children day after day. She fed them, loved them, played with them, taught them and nurtured them. She gave them a safe haven when they could not be with me. She woke up early and stayed up late to prepare for them. She took personal time when the daycare was closed to shop for the supplies required to accomplish all of this. She was open when she was exhausted or sick or had personal things going on. She greeted them each and every day with a smile, even if she may not have felt like it. She never ran out of hugs. The children were never bored and always had something to tell me about their day when I picked them up. She respected and cooperated with our parenting style. She was thoughtful and kind and accepting of their individual personalities. We are so lucky to have had this woman as a part of our lives.
Now, I know some of you may be thinking that this is her job, she chooses to do this for a living, what is the big deal? The big deal is that there is nothing in this world more important to me than my children (and Husband). To be able to hand them off to someone else each day for up to nine hours and not need to worry about them...that is priceless. Of course there is an actual budget we have to live by and I could only afford a particular amount each week for the daycare service itself, the peace of mind she gave me was truly priceless and I was so lucky to have found her, known her and lived so close to her.
So, I hope that by writing this blog entry she will understand, at least a little bit, about how I feel. I hope she gets a chance to read this and know that I mean each and every single word from the bottom of my heart. I hope I never loose touch with her. My childrens' lives have been greatly enriched irreversibly just by knowing her. Hayley, I love you very much and thank you, for everything. Thank you for being you. Thank you for loving my children. Really, truly...Thank you.