Today our youngest will spend his last morning and afternoon with caregivers thus ending 13 years of entrusting the care of sons, for part of the day, to others. Before school, during school, after school and school holidays have all required, at various times and to various degrees, a band of trusty and lovely people to share the care of our precious boys.
It’s kind of weird that this phase has come to an end.
Caregiver is such a generic term. It goes nowhere close to reflecting the wide range of skills, attributes and responsibilities the role encompasses.
From daycare centres to kindergartens to home-based care and after school programmes (with the occasional neighbour thrown in for good measure), we’ve utilised just about every service possible to help raise our children.
They see you and your offspring early in the morning and late in the day – not always the best time for tired small people/parents. Not surprisingly, many of these people have become great friends over the years who continue to inquire in and delight over the boys’ progress.
The portfolios created by early childhood teachers have become valued family treasures chronicling major milestones as well as every day activities. With them, we have discussed every minute detail of raising children from teething rings to sunscreen brands as well as big picture stuff such as educational options and dealing with grief.
Every single one of them has brought something special to our boys’ lives. And for that we will always be grateful.
It’s a big decision handing over care of your offspring to others. The caregivers we have met have been extremely in tune to not only meeting the boys’ needs, but also making sure we’ve been happy. I’ve had bad drop off mornings that left me howling all the way to work then received pics on my phone of a giggling 3 year old hooning down a slide, pats on the shoulder after a hard day and lots of special art works created just for mum/dad.
It’s a relationship that goes so far beyond normal employment arrangements, that it’s hard to put into words.
There were many, many times I would rather have been at home myself making and sharing precious memories but never did a single caregiver make me feel guilty about our choices. They were consistently supportive and caring, and each have played a part in making our boys the people they are today.
They say it takes a village to raise a child and I feel very fortunate with the villagers we have met along the way. So cheers to Janine, Carol, Lana, Sonia, Jack, Bridget, Hayley and all the other caregivers for the amazing work you do.