The end of the school year brings excitement and relief for many students and teachers.
The freedom of summer beckons and September seems so very far away.
Although every year I looked forward to the break, it still made me a little sad to say goodbye to a class full of children I had grown to love.
Opening their end of year gifts, doling out hugs and high fives and waving goodbye, came with a small dose of melancholy, especially when the last child and parent left me alone in the empty classroom.
All the toys and resources packed away, wall displays taken down, name stickers peeled off and tables and chairs scrubbed clean.
It reminded me of leaving school myself as a child, feeling the excitement prickling at all the summer possibilities, yet still reserving a little sadness for all the “goodbyes”.
Now that I am out of the classroom, I am saved this yearly ordeal but have found another rite of passage as a daycare owner.
My first daycare child is moving on.
I have looked after Elsa*(not her real name!!) since she was 8 months old and now she is two and a half. It might not seem that long, but that means I have helped care for her for 70% of her life!
Her Mom cried when she told me she was leaving, and then so did I, it was a decision based on driving times to a new office and wasn’t personal, but gosh, I miss her so!
As a creature of habit, any change to my daily routine has me feeling a little anxious. But the difference with this job is the personal connection.
A bond is established between a child and a caregiver that isn’t really found anywhere else in our working lives. After all, I have held her until she fell asleep, changed her, dressed her, fed her, danced with her, played with her and loved her.
As any daycare provider (or teacher) will tell you the hardest part of our job is often dealing with the parents, and in this regard, this makes it even harder to bear, as Miss Elsa has warm, kind parents who I will miss as well.
I also cared for her at a time of rapid natural development, my son is the same age and in the span of a couple of years they have morphed from helpless little blobs into quasi-independent, chatty, imaginative, active, hilarious characters.
Daycare speak terms all enrolled children as “friends”, and as sappy as it sounds, she was my friend and I miss her.
Another little girl has since taken her spot and I am sure I will develop all sorts of warm and fuzzy feelings for her too. As my own little toddler told me when I said I was sad Elsa had left:
“She still loves us, though”.
Out of the mouths of babes, oft time come gems