Here on the brink of my final day at the daycare center where I’ve worked the past year, it’s more bittersweet than I imagined it would be. While I definitely don’t regret the decision to move on to something different, I have fallen irreversibly in love with these kids. Their personalities are bigger and more complex than I thought possible for not-quite two year-olds, their tight hugs and laughter the sun of my days. I will not miss changing literally a hundred diapers a week (no joke, and this is a conservative estimate) or listening to cries or herding them like kittens in the hallway or that ridiculously long four-o-clock hour. But I will miss these kids. Maybe this is a taste of what parents feel, so much anguish and love all wrapped up together.
A few weeks ago, I was fiddling around on my guitar, and scribbled out a song that reflects my (and my sister/co-worker’s) philosophy of daycare. Forgive the lack of poetic polish, and I mean no offense to any parents who rely on daycare centers for financial stability. But feeling like a second mom, I couldn’t help but dedicate something to my little ones who, I believe, crave nothing more than presence and engagement.
In Honor of my Eight Favorite Adventurers
Little hands and laughter sweet,
Hugs and kisses all over your cheeks.
This child so small with love so free:
Hold him close.
He is your baby.
My arms can hold, and words can soothe.
Sure, I’m just a human being too.
But how could I ever replace
Your special presence
And the reflection of your face?
There is no gift so dear as time
And you’re always,
All day on his mind.
Whether on the play phones
Or when he falls,
It’s only “mommy” that he ever calls.
Mama, hold me close,
I am your baby.
I’m taking my guitar in tomorrow to sing it for them.