Somebody somewhere once said “The only constant in life is change.” I don’t know who said it and I don’t have the energy to google it, but whoever they are they are very smart and also the kind of person you want to kick really hard in the shins because DUH but also FUCK.
Change might be constant, especially when it comes to kids, but it’s also really hard – especially when it comes to kids.
The week after next Mia is going to change daycares. I know, big whoop, right? But actually, yea.
Before Mia was born I researched the shit out of every daycare in all of southern Maine. Dan and I visited probably 15 places that “made the initial cut.” I hated them all. Not because they were bad (some of them were) but mostly because none of them were me.
I never wanted to be a stay at home mom, but I never wanted to send Mia to daycare either. My mother warned me not to wait until after Mia was born to choose a daycare but I did anyway because I just couldn’t deal with it.
After Mia was born the options became even more limited because good daycares have waiting lists of like 12+ months. Just think about that for a second. Babies gestate for 9-10 months, waiting lists are 12 months plus. How the hell…
Anyway, by the time Mia was a month or so old I had given up on Google and was scouring craigslist for a small home daycare where Mia could have the next best thing to her real mom – someone else’s mom.
That’s how I found Melissa.
We were living in Windham at the time and her small home daycare, Little Dragonflys, was in Raymond – about a 15 minute drive.
I knew pretty much right away it was the one, because:
- It was the only place with openings
- It was cleaner than my house (and anyone else’s house I’d ever been in, including hotels)
- It was called Little Dragonflys and my mom’s favorite animal is a dragonfly
- Melissa had 4 kids, all of whom seemed to be alive and well, and happy
Mia started going to Melissa’s house when she was 10 weeks old. I cried the whole way to work the first day I dropped her off, but honestly, that was it. From the first day Mia went to Melissa’s I knew she was in good hands.
Mia slept and ate and giggled even more at Melissa’s than she did at home. She never fussed when I dropped her off. As soon as she could smile, she smiled when she saw Melissa.
With 4 kids of her own, Melissa knew pretty much everything about babies. When Mia got sick, I called her for advice. When I was deciding between bottle brands or carseats or temporal thermometers, she always knew the best one.
As time (years) went on, Melissa became like a second mom to Mia. She bought her birthday gifts and new shoes and taught her how to drink from a big kid cup and eat with a fork. Mia said her first word at daycare. That would make some moms really sad but it made me so happy that Mia felt that comfortable a daycare.
Melissa sent me pictures and videos almost everyday. She responded to texts within minutes – any hour of the day. When we switched Mia to lactose-free milk, Melissa stocked it for her. Along with sippy cups, wipes, extra clothing – you name it. I drop Mia off at daycare with a coat – that’s it. Everything else she needs is already there for her.
During a particularly brutal ice storm last winter, Melissa offered to keep Mia overnight, at no charge, so we wouldn’t have to risk the bad roads. The fact that she offered is crazy enough – the fact that we considered it shows just how much we trust her. Just days later, Mia and I both caught the stomach bug – and Melissa texted me to see if I needed her to bring us anything, or drop groceries off at the house.
When we moved to Cumberland, I told Melissa we would have to move Mia to a new daycare. I was devastated – but we weren’t about to drive 30 minutes in the wrong direction just for daycare. Until we did.
After visiting 5 or 6 daycares closer to our new house, we opted to add an hour to our commute, each way, to keep Mia at Melissa’s. She was the only person outside our actual family that we trusted with our baby.
And then, a year and half later we find out that a small home daycare in Cumberland, just 5 minutes from our house, finally has an opening for Mia. We couldn’t say no.
So the week after next Mia will start at her new daycare. The owner is wonderful, of course. A mom of two (her children are grown now, one even works for Dan at Docs!) with a big yard and plenty of toys and a safe home with other kids that will eventually go to the same school as Mia.
But, it’s not Melissa’s.
Mia doesn’t know any of the kids. It will be a new routine, a new “mom away from mom.” I doubt they send photos and videos. I doubt they buy the kids birthday presents. I doubt they sit on the couch and rock the kids in their own arms for hours when they’re sick, until mom can get there to pick them up.
When I drop her off, I know Mia will cling to my leg and beg me “up, up – I want you mommy” instead of running full speed into the kitchen and taking her favorite seat at the breakfast table – all smiles, reaching for Melissa. She might even cry, and have to be pulled out of my arms. I know it will only be for the first couple days. But it will break my heart.
I know it will be harder for me than it is for her. I know she’ll adapt – kids are pros at that.
But still. Change is hard. And I’m sad.
The new daycare will be great too. But it won’t be Melissa.
Thanks, Melissa, for being there for Mia since she was just 10 tiny weeks old. Thanks for rocking her, changing her, feeding her, teaching her, discipling her, and loving her as much as I do. You have a gift, for sure. Thank you for sharing it with Mia.