Slice of Life: Rewind 12 of 31
This morning, I woke up feeling uncertain. The day ahead was certain to be different than my typical day. I felt I was making the right decision, but I knew the day would have its hard parts. At 7:17 a text appeared on my phone; "Wishing you a fantastic last day!" it read.
August, 1989. With baby carrier in my hand and a bag full of supplies, I walked to the door trying to balance it all and worrying about my first day. My sweet baby was just over six weeks old and resting comfortably in the carrier. Even at six weeks hold, she wasn't a lightweight. Of course, my heart was a little heavy too. Though I was excited to get back to students and the profession I loved, I knew these next weeks were going to be an adjustment. I also knew this was the right decision for me. Still, it wasn't easy as I knocked on the door.
The door opened and a bright smiling face appeared. Little did I know this would be the smile that would greet me for twelve more years. The door opened, I walked into the living room, and gently placed the carrier on the floor by the bookshelf. This would be where my daughter would spend her days while her dad and I were at school. There wasn't much that needed discussed as I dropped off my infant since we had talked days ago about these first days and my sweet baby's routines. We exchanged some pleasant chit chat and I shared a few last minute pieces of information I thought might be helpful. Yes, I knew this wonderful person had been babysitting for years and yes she could have probably told me a thing or two, but she didn't. She just smiled and reassured me that all would be fine. Yes, she knew how to get ahold of me. Yes, she had all the grandparent contacts.
I mustered up all of my willpower, gave the baby a parting kiss, and headed out the door. I returned later that day to find that all had gone well. Day one was in the books. Days turned into weeks, weeks turned into years. One child became two children, two children became three. Each morning, I'd knock on the door. Each morning, the bright smile greeted me.
During the twelve years, my children became family in this space. Other children joined them each day. There were activity calendars each month, special celebrations, and learning experiences. While they may have had many firsts in this space, I never knew it. While I heard about their days, it seemed they never babbled a word until they babbled at home, never crawled until they crawled in their own living room, never walked until I saw it and shared it with this wonderful childcare provider whom we affectionately call my children's second mom. Honestly, they wouldn't be what they are today without her.
Years passed. We've kept in touch. She's celebrated graduations and weddings with our children. Our life paths do seem to keep putting us in common spaces.
This morning, at 7:17 a text appeared on my phone and I paused. This had been a hard week of goodbyes and lasts. I had held up pretty well through it all, but when I read, "Wishing you a fantastic last day!" I felt myself grow weepy. You see, this text was from the wonderful woman whose bright smile had opened the door for my children for years. Without her, I wouldn't be retiring today. Without her, my children wouldn't be where they are today. It was because I knew each day my children were safe and happy and cared for that I was able to go in to teach my students. It was because of her that I was able to continue in a career I loved so much. Without her, none of this would have been possible.
I know she knows she took good care of my children, but I hope she also knows I am forever grateful for all the ways she also supported me. As I reflect on a career that brought me such joy, I know that was possible because of her.
It's March and I'm diving back into the March Slice of Life Challenge! Buckle in! This will be my 8th year joining the community (though I must confess to a two year break). Yep, some of the writing will be messy. Honestly, most of it will be messy. Thanks for stopping by. I'm excited to dive back into the madness. Thanks to Two Writing Teachers for hosting.