When Charlie was six months old, I put him on the waiting list for a really awesome preschool in the neighborhood just south of ours. The place came highly recommended by a few friends and we knew we wanted him to get a good preschool experience before kindergarten since we’re still undecided about where he’ll be going to school when he turns five. At the time, the preschool estimated that there wouldn’t be a spot for him until at least age 3, although children do start there as young as age 2.
In the meantime, Charlie has been attending a fantastic, small daycare in our neighborhood. It’s not fancy but the staff is one of the most caring and dedicated groups of women I have ever encountered. We’ve been through a lot with them, as the place changed ownership shortly before we started there and the new owner mismanaged the finances to the point where the parents had to practically beg her to turn the place back over to the original owner. Now the old owner is back, with a new business partner, and the place is better than ever. Even during the darkest of times, though, the staff made sure that the daycare was full of love. I always tell people that I’ve raised my son with my husband, and these ladies. I can’t even quantify all the ways in which they’ve helped Charlie become the little person he is today.
And so of course, at the exact point that the daycare is on the upswing, the fantastic preschool calls to tell us that they have a spot for Charlie. If you know anything about the waiting list process for good, urban preschools, you know that there’s no deferring an opening at a good place. We couldn’t ask to wait until he was a little older. This was it. So we made the very hard decision to enroll him in the fancy new joint and give our notice to our beloved daycare.
There will be lots of changes at preschool – no pacifiers, no mandatory naps, no cloth diapers, and one of the school holidays is Gandhi’s birthday. All of these changes are good changes, of course. (Except for the nap thing. I love nap time.) The curriculum and the facility at the new school are top-notch. During our visit there this week, it was clear to me that the children have a real bond with the very loving and fun staff which consists of both male and female teachers, a rare attribute of schools for this age group.
But I’m still sad. I know that moving on to new experiences is part of a child’s life, and thereby part of mine as a parent. Nonetheless, I’ve grown to really consider the women at daycare to be my teammates in all of this. They greet Charlie enthusiastically every morning with hugs and high fives, but they’ve also (maybe unknowingly) helped me get through some of the toughest times as a new mom. They will stay with me forever as the first people I trusted to take good care of my son. If Charlie ever gets a sibling, I won’t hesitate to enroll that baby in this daycare. In fact, I can’t imagine anyone else taking care of any baby of mine.
So, to Miss Angie, Miss Brittany, Miss Jackie, Miss Brooke, Miss Nikki, Miss Kate, Miss Stacey, and all of the other Misses who came and went during our time at daycare, we love you all so very much. Thank you for these last two years. I’m going to go cry and read up on Gandhi now.