Monday, May 13th, 2013...9:33 pm

A Letter Of Love And Thanks To My Daycare

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Last night Nora graduated from pre-school, walking down the aisle in her cap and gown and celebrating five years of learning and growing and sharing with wonderful teachers who have loved her so well. How do you thank the women who have done so much for you? I wrote this in an attempt to show them just how thankful I am for them.

When she was a baby, you fed her her first cheerios, made her first Mother’s Day gift, helped her eat her first Thanksgiving Feast. You might have even witnessed her first unassisted sitting, her first crawl toward a toy, her first steps, but you kept those things secret, let me think that I was seeing all the firsts I had been so afraid to miss. But mostly, in that first year that Nora spent in your classroom, you taught me that despite all my worrying, despite all the guilt of returning to work, despite all the hours I missed her, she would be ok.

When she was one, you helped her celebrate her first holiday “parties” with sweets and friends and plastic tablecloths. You drew a smiley face on her pointer finger each afternoon before you left, a ritual she still remembers well. You complimented her growing vocabulary. One day I dropped her off and you commented on how she used the word “favorite” so well. Your compliments meant the world to me, your noticing the little changes in her the same way I did. Her words were gifts to me and you noticing them meant so much.

When she was two you helped her start to navigate the world of friendships, sharing toys, taking turns. You led her in her first class Christmas Carols and helped her give her first Valentines. You
helped her learn to use the bathroom on her own, one of the biggest gifts you give to us working parents. And you never said anything when she showed up each day after clearly having dressed herself – sometimes all in denim, mostly all in tutus, never really matching perfectly but always wearing some sparkle.

When she was three you nurtured her. You accepted all of her emotions, her uncontrollable crying fits and her outpouring of sweet words. You read her countless books, helped her draw and paint countless pictures. You taught her to explore, to love and capture bugs, watch seeds sprout into plants. You taught her how to pump herself on the swing, something I’m grateful for every time I see her reach her legs higher and higher towards our backyard tree. And you helped her transition into being a big sister, showering her with love and attention each day during a time when she was learning that she’d now have to share those same things at home.

When she was four and now five, you taught her to speak out, helped her break out of her quiet shell. You taught her to write her name, her whole name, which she now proudly scribes on almost everything she owns. You taught her to read her first words by sight, bringing tears to my
eyes that afternoon when I first sat down with my baby and heard her read a whole book to me instead of the other way around. You taught her to explore nature, to draw hopscotch on the sidewalk. You taught her to be a helper and supported her in growing out of some bad habits. You’ve let her be your shadow, understood her need to be quiet, cuddled her on the days when leaving was a bit harder. You’ve let her love you and you’ve always loved her back well.

I will always remember dropping her off for her first day in the two year-old class and finding a gift in her cubby. It was her “brown baby” – the one Nora had loved so much in the previous class. You moved that baby doll up with her because you took the time to notice her love for it, you took the time to think about making her (and probably me) comfortable with change. I had known already for a year and a half that she was loved in the moments each day that I had to be away. But that day, with the brown baby in the cubby? That day and that moment symbolize still for me all that you’ve done to truly know and care for my baby.

Next year as she heads to kindergarten, there won’t be any brown baby waiting in her cubby to soften the blow of change. Instead she will have five years of lessons lovingly taught, five years of extraordinary women showing her that she will always be loved for who she is. After all you’ve taught her, after all you’ve given her, I know she’ll continue to thrive.

 

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