Dear Daycare Mommas, I raise my morning cup of coffee to you. And I wonder if you have time to finish yours. I know I can’t be the only working mom who feels an indescribable, deep appreciation for you. I know a simple thank you goes far but it still feels insufficient. What you do for us, for my baby girl-it is invaluable.
Not long ago, I was putting away Eleanor’s first yearbook and it got me thinking back to her very first day in the nursery at daycare.
It was a year ago yesterday when Lee and I had decided that together we would take Eleanor to daycare on her first day. There’s nothing like the feeling you get when you drop off your 12 week old infant to be taken care of by someone that you barely know. I had dreaded that first day for a couple of weeks leading up to it. Dear Daycare Momma, honestly, I cried the entire drive there that first day. I regained composure to walk inside and fought back tears when I tried to tell you how much milk Ellie drank that morning and how long she had slept last so that you would know when to feed her when I wasn’t going to be there to do so myself. You smiled because you had been there yourself at one point and because surely you had seen my hesitation a million times on the faces of other mommies. Lee and I gripped hands as we walked back down the hall and out to our cars. We shared a hug and a parting look of “it is what it is” and then went our separate ways for the day. I went out to my car and started the engine but couldn’t move. My heart felt anchored to that parking spot. I eventually ugly cried into reverse and all the way to my office where I fought back more tears when I greeted my coworkers for the first time since coming off maternity leave. Tears streamed down my face while I pumped behind my office door for the first time. I left my baby for you to care for that day. And you did. You became her second mommy.
You sent me pictures in a text that first day and several since. You have no idea how much those sweet images carried me through my days in the beginning. She got to know you and grew to love you. When I would hand Ellie back to you each morning and watch her reach for you or when I would catch you singing her favorite songs at the end of the day, I felt jealousy over you sometimes and I also felt sadness. Although bittersweet, the sweet part outweighs the bitter by a longshot. Because how heartbreaking it would be if she were blatantly miserable every time I left her or picked her up? I’m extremely thankful she gets to spend her days with someone as caring as you.
My feelings shifted as we have adjusted and adapted to our routines. It’s a deeper appreciation for what you do. The thought of you getting the entire classroom down for a nap at the same time still bewilders me. I assume you are the Nap Whisperer. And I feel for you when I pick Eleanor up and learn about the explosive diaper she had. I wonder how many diapers you changed that day and how many were explosive. I feel bad when Eleanor is teething and you have to deal with her crankiness. While I am at work in my quiet office, enjoying my coffee, attending meetings or running errands-you are in a room surrounded by toddlers. But, caring for the little ones who mean the most to us. You are busy teaching them right from wrong, teaching them to share and be kind, tending to their needs, kissing their boo-boos, giving them hugs and extra snuggles on days that they need it. You, daycare mommas, have the toughest but best job in the world. And humbly, I thank you for all that you do.
PS: I study, cherish and save each image you send for Eleanor’s baby book. xx