Yesterday, we said goodbye to our daycare center. With a new move to the suburbs on the horizon, the trek to the center miles past my workplace has become too arduous. I steeled myself for this day but I didn't expect it to be as heart-wrenching as it was. In preparation, I prepared photo thank you cards with sincere words of gratitude for each teacher. I forgot the super absorbent tissues.
It was in writing these notes that all of the outside the home working-mom guilt came flooding back. Suddenly I wondered whether I was making the right decision in pursuing my professional goals in law instead of working inside the home. Baby D has been there for nearly a year and I really learned from these women. Sure, I reacted with visible (terrified) surprise that Baby D had eaten an orange or pasta that day. I had been afraid to try anything but pureed food even though he had reached the table food age and the news sometimes frightened me. They gave him crackers and encouraged a variety of foods that I had convinced myself were choking hazards (but weren't).
Those women helped make our little guy into a dancing, singing, Spanish-speaking superkid. They made me into a more confident, less stressed, no-longer-nervous-about-everything mom with a newly-found belief in the African proverb, It takes a village to raise a child.
There were tears. Lots of tears. They were truly our partners in parenting and I'll be lucky to find anyone outside our family who even comes close. So, Monday, we will begin or new childcare arrangement. There is sure to be an adjustment period, some flailing, some kicking. We'll also have to see how Baby D deals with it.
Anyone else out there have to say goodbye to a beloved caretaker?