When my daughter told me that she wanted to enroll my grandson in a home daycare in a town twenty minutes across a bridge and a river from us I was hesitant, to say the least. She was convinced that the person who runs the daycare was the perfect match for her and Avi’s needs because it was a smaller daycare and he could continue learning to speak in Spanish. When he started daycare he was greeted by a group of children who had been there prior to him and were well settled in. As most children do, he cried initially and drop-offs were no fun for a while. He slowly adjusted.
Over time we have come to love not only the daycare provider and the children who attend there but also the family that resides in the home. They are a goofy bunch. Avi refers to Miss Claudia as Tia (auntie) and loves her as much as he loves anyone in his world. He has broken bread with the dog, who being of great intelligence has mastered the art of stealing food from toddlers. He has learned to eat mangos, pineapple, tacos, elotes, sopita and all of the other traditional Mexican foods she serves him. He boasts that he loves to eat and insists on big bites.
One of the things that our family values most is easy laughter. We laugh at all manner of things. We laugh at each other and we laugh at circumstances that to many, are silly and perhaps even not that funny. We hit the jackpot with Miss Claudia. It is impossible to walk into her house and not laugh at some point. The circumstances of having toddlers at your feet like puppies, with a dog on the back of the sofa like “Vulture Snoopy” watching their every move, while she finds joy in everything they do and hilarity in even the not so fun stuff makes it a welcoming environment for everyone. Kids are loved in that home, whether they are her own three lovely kids or family that drops by or the charges entrusted to her daily.
Today my daughter shared a picture of Avi leaving the house on his last day as a full-time attendee. I felt a knot in my throat. He starts preschool tomorrow and he is thrilled. He will attend another bilingual classroom with a long-trusted teacher (she taught his mom and uncle when they were little) and he reaches another milestone.
I know that if I am emotional over this transition it’s because of two reasons. The most obvious is that a certain little boy is getting bigger and his bravery and independence are showing through his eagerness to explore his new school. The less obvious reason is that again I am reminded that his mom has consistently made good choices for his wellbeing. I know she is nervous, eager, worried, proud, supportive and doing her very best to make sure he has everything he needs and some of what he wants. I’m very proud of her for stepping up to her responsibilities as a mommy and provider and her hard work is evident in her child’s personality and strength.
No one ever wants less than a full connection between their child and his caregiver. That’s what his mom and Miss Claudia provide him… a full connection. Thank you to Claudia and her family for the love they shower on our baby and all babies she cares for; babies who grow into toddlers in a blink of an eye.
As they leave her for preschool she laughs and yells out for all to hear, “He’s going to do great!”
And every parent knows, that she’s talking to them and not their child.
And they are grateful beyond words.