The Daycare Good-Bye


The Daycare Good-Bye“The days are long, but the years are short.” — Gretchen Rubin

“The days are long” part of that phrase hasn’t applied to me since baby #2 arrived. Days just went faster. Then when baby #3 came out, warp speed commenced. Even nights of child restlessness and sick days home from school didn’t make time slow down because it just meant even more multitasking. We have put three kids through varying schedules of full-time daycares and part-time MDO/preschool programs over the past ten years, and I suddenly find myself watching my baby prepare for preschool graduation.

It all went fast. All of it. Every day.


While preschool graduation is a significant moment for many 4K and 5K kids right now, it will not be a huge milestone that our children will look back upon with pride. Bigger achievements will happen and larger celebrations will occur that overshadow this time in their lives. Their preschool memories will eventually fade, just as ours did, however modern-day advances allow those memory gaps to be filled in with all the wonderful pictures teachers took the time to take. We can look back on art projects, Easter egg hunts, playground fun, rainy day indoor recess, dress-up days, nap times, book reading, classmate laughs and birthday celebrations like we were right there with them through it all. While we slave away at home doing laundry and housekeeping or try to meet deadlines at work, their photo-taking dedication lets us be a fly on the wall. And our kids will be able to grow up with a greater appreciation for their daycare and preschool teachers because these pictures will show them how much they were loved and cared for during the day.


For those of us who are saying good-bye to daycare and preschool for the last time, we may be happy to end that auto-draft fee or to sign that last check, but it doesn’t replace the feeling of confidence and security we’ve had every time we’ve left our kids behind those locked doors. Our preschool has welcomed my kids with smiles, open arms, hugs and excitement every single day. These kids walk in knowing they are loved by this second family and oftentimes don’t want to leave at pick-up time. My son even cried the day we got back from a Disney trip saying he missed his friends so much he wished he could have stayed home instead of going to Disney World. Whether he truly meant that or not, those tears were real. He loves his teachers and friends fiercely because those 25 hours per week are an integral part of his life.

To the daycares/preschools/MDOs/PDOs/nursery schools (or whatever label your childcare school goes by), know that even though these days will be long forgotten by our littles (except for all those snapshots!), the parents value you and are so grateful for the daily hugs, kisses, conversation, teaching, fun and goofiness you have tirelessly brought to our youngsters.

Even though they are fleeting memories to our children, we will forever remember you as a vital and central part of our lives and the lives of our children.


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