Today was the day that it happened. We’ve been expecting it for a while, preparing for it, anticipating how it would feel. But then today it happened. We left nursery for the very last time.
It was a very surreal feeling, I was emotional although I did manage to not cry. I can’t quite believe that she won’t go back there, that I won’t ever ring the buzzer again and say ‘Hi it’s Jess’s Mum…’ or wonder which Miss Becca she’s talking about, because there’s two and she always gets cross with me if I guess wrong.
She’s been in nursery, that same nursery since she was less than a year old. I was a working, studying, single-parent and as much as we’ve gone from one extreme of five full days in nursery a week to only one half afternoon sometimes, realistically between 36-42 hours a week for effectively 80% of her life, she’s been brought up by other women.
When she first started nursery, I had never left her with anyone, other than my Mum and couple of close friends. I was terrified to put her into childcare, having never needed to utilise the option with the other girls. We were lucky, and we hit the jackpot with the staff and the setting that she is in, and she has thrived continually whilst being there. I am incredibly thankful to the girls who have, over the last four years, helped me bring up my child when I couldn’t be there, even though I desperately have wished at times that I could be at home full time.
They are the unsung heroes of the working world, they work incredibly long hours, with not very exciting pay, they look after more babies and toddles than my brain can even fathom (and I work with teenagers all day), and they spend all day changing, feeding, wiping and loving these children without a moan or a fake smile.
So to the girls who have loved, and looked after my child when I wasn’t able to be there – thank you. You have changed our lives, and we will always be so grateful for you.
Thank you for embracing the fact that she just hated having her trousers rolled down. It was annoying, it was winter, she is a very determined wee girl. My god if anyone went near her with a jacket or a pair of trousers then boy did we know about it. Thanks for being patient with her, for not judging me when she came in with blue legs, and for working with her to help her finally decide that coats were ok!
Thank you for embracing the fact that she just isn’t into anything that anyone would remotely think she would be. She likes dinosaurs, she likes Star Wars, she is OBSESSED with Halloween. Except, you know all that. You know what she likes, and what she doesn’t like. You know that tigers are better than giraffes and that when she asks for jeffrey she means her cuddle thing that has spent a couple of sleepovers in your room when we’e forgotten him. You know she won’t eat cucumber unless it’s in sticks and not circles and she sure isn’t going to want to be a princess at dress up time. Thank you for helping her to grow her interests and for allowing her to be the cool wee girl who loves to go off on an adventure with her imaginary zombie friends.
Thanks for doing the stuff I just wasn’t really around to do. Namely, crafts and potty training. On the day she moved into the 3-5 year room I collected her as normal, only to be told that she now wore pants and not nappies. Great. This happily actually coincided with her being in full time which meant you got the bulk of the potty stuff, and it made my life so much easier. Thank you, for quite literally dealing with all her crap, and for not laughing too much when she wee’d in the garden on more than once occasion.
Thank you for all the time and effort that went into sports days, and nativities and all the stuff that actually you don’t have to do but you do anyway. She hated taking part when she first started, she hated face paint, she hated people. But you persevered with her, you encouraged her, you helped her and comforted her and this year she was Mary in the Christmas show. Thanks for also reminding me the days before these things that they were happening because after four years you know I don’t retain information that I should and I tend to be the parent that forgets the present for Santa.
And lastly, thanks for just being there. There have been times where I have come in fresh from bad news and cried at you. Like the time the cat got run over and you were the first place I came to. Thanks for being so understanding when she kept telling people the delivery man was her Daddy. Thanks for never judging me when I was late, or when she was dropped off in her jammies because I had to leave for work so early, or when I fed her the same lunch every day for three weeks because despite my best efforts she is just the fussiest eater you can imagine.
You have been there, through it all. The good, the bad and the downright stressful. You have carried our girl when she was tired, you have hugged her when she was poorly, and you have taught her when she was struggling. I am her parent, but you have helped raise her, and we wouldn’t be here without you. Thank you.
And when people ask, “what do you think of the nursery…?” I will honestly, and unequivicolly say;
“For four years, they helped me raise my child. They cared, they listened, they shared the burden. For her, for us there was no one better, and we are eternally grateful for it all.”
Sarah & Jess xx