On changing daycares

We officially switched day cares today. And though it was the right thing to do, we can’t help but feel a little trepidation.

It’s a big change. And how will Sierra handle it?

Most importantly – how will we handle it?

It wasn’t gross negligence that forced us to change – it was distance. Sure, a series of ever-present pet peeves brought it to the forefront, but my 45-minute drive to daycare and then to work wasn’t working out anymore.

We feel strongly about our daycare provider’s ability to take care of Sierra. She was good at it. And Sierra loved her. We couldn’t have asked for a better person at the time – a home setting, with Sierra being the only newborn, the only attention-grabbing baby, with plenty of love to give.

So it’s only natural that we still feel a little bittersweet about the whole thing.

After all, who was it that showed genuine love for Sierra, a love you don’t find in your typical center? Who was it that said to us, “Sierra has had more of an impact on me than any other child outside of my own?” Who was it that welcomed another child into her home, at eight weeks old, and treated her with the same gentle spirit we would have ourselves, who stood in for us when we needed to leave, who became a solid rock in the ever-changing life of a baby?

We tried to show her how much it meant, the time she put into helping Sierra grow into the bright, energetic one-year-old she has become. We gave her a gift, told her thanks, tried to brush it off as business-as-usual. And she did the same.

Those bonds are difficult, though, like the feelings a teacher has for his or her favorite students – a feeling of guardianship, of not knowing what their life will become after leaving your watch. Emotions are a bitch, it seems. They tie us together, even when we’re trying to get away.

I am fully confident we made the right choice. But that doesn’t help the feeling I have. It’s change, and as an overprotective father, who has nothing greater in his mind than the livelihood and future of his only daughter, I can’t help but feeling a little uneasy.

But I can always rest assured. If things don’t work out, her spot is still open.

That’s a relief. It’s a back-up. A choice. It’s not all or nothing; instead, it’s faith that no matter what happens, Sierra’s going to be in good hands, whether it’s at her new daycare or back at the original.

And that’s the best gift we could have asked for.

This was lovingly handwritten on August 28th, 2008