Here she is. She is the unsung hero of our family.
For the better part of the last 10 years (nearly a whole decade!), we’ve casually stopped by her house every weekday. We drop these spirited children inside her front door for daycare with a quick hug and kiss and go on with our days. Really, it’s that easy because never, not one time have I questioned they were cared for during their day.
She feeds them. She changes them. She talks to them and cares for them, but that’s just the minimum. She knows their favorite foods and even long after they’ve started going to school full-time, she saves a leftover cinnamon roll to send home to them. She’s kept them late when we had to be out of town. She teaches them to share and use their manners.
She takes them into her pew at church on Sunday morning, her day off. She’s kept them when they’re feverish if they happen to be her only kids that day. She throws Christmas and Valentine’s parties and her house is their favorite place to trick-or-treat (I mean, who else would give a kid a chocolate pie). She teaches them to clean up after themselves at the table and to pick up their toys before snack. And let’s talk about snacks. She has the best snack basket.
She rarely takes a day off. She cleans up poop and puke but draws the line at leaky ears. She shows up at our house during a pandemic with a DVD and popcorn from the movie theater so we can have a movie night at home. She potty trains. God bless her.
I’m sure there are days she doesn’t eat, days she needs coffee and doesn’t have it. I’m sure there are days the kids won’t eat, days she wonders if they had coffee and shouldn’t have.
She probably needs a nap and a cleaning service. What she gets instead are days the kids don’t nap and tear her house apart. I sometimes think she would put her own family out in the cold if they were sick so she could take care of mine. Our kids adore her whole family and her husband and grown children have been a part of cuddling my own. I hope she knows how very grateful I am for that.
I know each family’s work-life situation is unique and challenging. Ours happens to be a two-parent household where we both work outside the home. We love our jobs, and we love our kids. And we knew when we started a family, that if we were going to do both, we needed an ace in the hole. And we got her. To add to the growing list of “So God Made A . . . XYZ,” for our family, it’s So God Made An In-Home Daycare.
We couldn’t do what we do day in and day out without her.
We’re not quite done with her yet. We’ve got about two more years to let her love on our littlest ones. And when those years are done, and we’ve finally reached the days of full-time school for everyone, I’ll be glad to give up the bill and the extra morning and evening stop. But I will be sad that my kids won’t get that daily love and interaction from this incredible caring adult who has become an extension of our family.
Because I know when we pick them up at the end of the day, they are happy and healthy. But more than that, I know that they’ve been loved as if they are her very own and for that, I am so thankful.