Dear former day care child,
If you were born between 1985 and 1991, I may have been your day care teacher. I may have been a grownup who spent more hours a week with you than any parent, guardian, sibling, or extended family member when you were between the ages of two and four years old.
I’m thinking you have almost no memory of me.
Yet, for those two crucial developmental years of your life, for eight or more hours every weekday, I greeted you with a smile and took your hand to lead you into your classroom. Every one of these mornings, I read one or more picture books with you, sang songs with you and danced with you.
I put out morning snack, lunch, and afternoon snack for you. I changed your diaper, or all of your other clothes if your family thought you were “potty-trained”. I wiped your nose, your hands, and your legs from outdoor dirt or other kinds of dirt I won’t mention.
I brought you outside every day, even in the rain in summertime. We played catch, tag, and Duck, Duck, Goose. I pushed you on the swings hundreds of times and stood under the climber to catch you if you fell off. I told you not to run up the slide.
I sat with you when you were sad or angry or didn’t know what you felt. I put bandages on you if you got hurt, or sometimes when you just wanted a bandage. I pinched your nose with paper towels when it bled.
I tied your shoes and buttoned or snapped your coat hundreds of times.
I desperately tried to stay awake in a dark classroom while soft music played at your naptime. If you couldn’t sleep, I would find quiet puzzles for you to do or books for you to look at. If you were missing someone in your family, I helped you write a letter to them.
Here’s what you may not realize:
I was much younger than you are right now.
I was twenty-two when I first worked as a day care teacher assistant, and twenty-six when I became the lead teacher of “the threes and fours” classroom.
At twenty-seven, I followed my future husband to another state and got a job at an elementary school. The next time I spent my days with preschool aged children, I was their mother.
If you were one of my day care kids, I want you to know I still have your class photo, and I probably still remember your first name.
I still think about all of you, my former day care children. You are now in your thirties, and I wonder what you’re up to. If we never meet up again, I want to say this to all of you:
I would not have been as good a parent without your help. I am blessed to have worked with you.
I hope you are having a nice life, and are happy. Maybe the next time you tie your shoes or button your coat, you’ll think of me.
With Lasting Love,
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------THIS PIECE WAS ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED ON MEDIUM.COM.
About the Creator
An older Gen X-er, my childhood was surrounded by theatre people. My adulthood has been surrounded by children, first my students, then my own, and now more students! You can also find me on Medium here: https://medium.com/@becklesjm