Today I picked up Brandon from daycare for the last time. And yes, I cried. I cried when he hugged his best friend Jackson and all their other little friends crowded around them. “Bye,” they called in a chorus after him. When we were outside, Brandon went to the window and waved goodbye one last time, smiling and slapping the window jovially. I don’t know that he understands that he won’t be going back. But I know that he liked being there.
I remember the first day I dropped Brandon off at daycare when he was 12 weeks old. I was so sad that I couldn’t be caring for him. I cried then, too. And I don’t want to put Holden in daycare at 12 weeks after doing so with Brandon. It is sad to say goodbye to the little one you’re just getting to know so soon. They are so helpless and needy and you want to be building your bond with them and tending to their every need.
But then they start to grow up and daycare isn’t quite the enemy it was when they were little. In Brandon’s daycare, he learned to walk and talk alongside the other seven kids in his class and they have become very close. They play together, color together, go outside, share and fight together. They are a little family of kids all the same age. Daycare gives Brandon the socialization with kids his own age he wouldn’t have here at home.
So now, I will try my best to give Brandon the variety of activities he got at daycare. I will arrange play dates for him and take him to the park so he can still interact with kids his age. And I wrote Jackson’s mom a somewhat pathetic note begging her to call me so Jackson and Brandon can still see each other. It’s the end of an era. And what I learned is that daycare isn’t the enemy. Staying home with your kids isn’t a curse. We all do what we need to for our families. And Brandon and I are moving from one era into the other. Hopefully seamlessly.