Today I told our daycare that our girls will soon be done…for good. Their last day aligns with my teacher husband’s last day of work in a few weeks. I’ve been putting off giving notice. I didn’t want to make it official. Today I pulled the trigger and cried multiple times since.

We’ve consistently loved our daycare center. Edie enrolled when she was two, following a home daycare situation that ended on a sour note. We needed more comprehensive care closer to my work, and the center offered just that. I got a good vibe when I visited and heard positive first-hand reviews.

From day one, the teachers provided quality care and led activities that kept her engaged and happy. I was impressed with their projects so much that tried to create similar weekend activities (fail!). The co-directors were visible, responsive, and ingrained in the center’s daily operations. They welcomed my second baby when I returned to work full-time. It’s never easy to walk away from a new baby, leaving her in the arms of a daycare provider. But I felt confident that her teacher, a 25-year infant room veteran, was caring for her well.

Teacher turnover is minimal, which reinforces the sense of community. One teacher has left in our two years. They must feel valued and love the work they do. I try to channel their approach and language with my own kids: crouching to my daughters’ eye level to have a conversation rather than looking down, or saying “No, thank you” instead of “Cut the shit!”

I equate daycare providers to nurses. Perhaps saints. They do a demanding job that I absolutely could not do. I appreciate that these people exist in the world!
I’m no stranger to changing daycares. Due to a cross-country move, changing jobs, and two new opportunities – for a STEM magnet pre-k and an in-home caregiver for my younger daughter – I’ve had to initiate the daycare break-up conversation more than once. I think many parents do; most of my friends have changed daycares at least once, and they often move on to new but wonderful places.

Facing these tough transitions is the nature of life with young children. First, the phases of their development change so rapidly. Second, our lives are fluid. For example, last year when I went on maternity leave we pulled Edie from daycare because the tuition for two kids wasn’t penciling out, and we were going to figure something else out (so yes, technically, we already said goodbye!) While on leave, I landed a new job. The salary was a bump – exactly enough to cover another child’s tuition. They let us re-enroll her and the baby no problem.

Despite the sadness of saying goodbye, we’re looking forward to what’s next. This summer, 0ur girls will spend more time with my husband, my mom (another teacher), and me. They’ll enjoy less structure – a couple camps, visits to my family’s lake house, a vacation. Next fall, our baby will go to a woman who was highly recommended through word of mouth, and I’m excited that my preschooler will have exposure to a Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math curriculum at her new school, which also has a great reputation.

We’re lucky we found a great daycare. We will certainly miss the friends and teachers we’ve gotten to know. But the next chapter begins soon. And you know what? If our new situation doesn’t work out, we can always go back.

Summer may look more like this.

Summer may look more like this.

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