Missing Miss Denise

Picture it: December 2011.

I was four months pregnant and Brian and I had begun researching daycare options for our “bean.” Two words describe our initial finding: sticker shock. We had no idea how expensive day care is, and unfortunately had no other options to consider at the time. So we visited a few centers and joined the waiting lists.

A few months later, I was invited to a get together for moms in our neighborhood. Not knowing many moms at the time, I was hesitant to attend, but decided to anyway. That night, I met a woman named Denise, and she overheard me telling others about our daycare plans (or lack there of, more accurately). She messaged me on Facebook later that week to ask if I was interested in having her watch our daughter as she was just reopening her home daycare after a hiatus to raise her own children. Some people may say it was meant to be, and I couldn’t agree more; a little thing called fate.

After 12 weeks home with Bridget, it was time for me to go back to work and Bridget to begin her days at Miss Denise’s. Being a working mom is tough, for many reasons that millions of women know well. I am no mathematician (as my family and friends can attest to), but it doesn’t require a calculator or Excel formula to figure out that in a typical week, I spend a small fraction of the time with Bridget that I spend at work. It’s a harsh truth. Thank God for weekends!

Because of this, I am forever grateful for Denise. From the first day we brought Bridget to her home, she loved and cared for her like she was one of her own. And the feeling was mutual. It was obvious that Bridget enjoyed her time with Denise and her family. Bridget is a stubborn little one and there were periods when she cried and cried and cried. Denise never gave up on her but instead would smile and say, “We’re just along for Bridget’s ride…we better buckle up.”

She answered my calls at least once a day to check in, when she would rattle off her last nap and feeding. She was the first to notice some of Bridget’s teeth, or when a cold may be coming on. She would frequently send me pictures throughout the day like the ones below.

If we couldn’t be home with Bridget, Denise was the next best thing.

When we moved last month, we had every intention of keeping Bridget with Denise, even though the commute would not be ideal. Unfortunately, not ideal also meant more time in the car and less time with our Bridget bear. Like I said, there aren’t enough hours in the working day to spend as many as we wish with her, so even an hour counts. We decided to move her to a daycare closer to home, and she starts on Monday. Friday was Bridget’s last day with Denise.

I know that kids are resilient, and that the daycare we’ve chosen is excellent, but I still feel sad. Bridget will be too young to remember, so we will make a conscious effort to stay in touch with Denise for Bridget to know the woman who took such great care for her during her first year of life.

Wish us luck during this adjustment period. I haven’t felt these kind of nerves since my first day of school!

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