Tuesday, August 28, 2012

The Last Year of Daycare

The kids are in Connecticut for a few days (thanks Fillis and John!) as another summer winds down, and we face the usual "there's no camp and no daycare and no school!" gap at the end of August. As fun as this summer was, particularly for the kids, I am so ready for this school year to start. Because this start represents the beginning of the end: The End of Daycare.

Now in nine months I fully expect to be blubbering that my baby is graduating and all that goes along with that (can you believe how cute 5yo Hannah was?), but that time hasn't come to pass yet, so for now I'm left contemplating all of the joy that is to come from being done with this stage in our lives. Here are the top three reasons I won't mind moving on from daycare:

1) Money. This pretty much outranks everything else out there. As I detailed in this post when Hannah graduated, we spent a lot of money on her daycare years, and with the inflation in costs for Max, the total is definitely higher for him. While there will still be aftercare and years of activity fees, it should still be substantially less.
2) Calendar. With both kids attending the same elementary school, they'll be on the same schedule. And while they will still have way more vacation time than I do, it will be easier to manage just one set of teacher inservice days and the differences between the secular and Jewish calendars. Even the "wear this color/item" notices I so dread will be easier to manage.
3) Pick up and drop off. While Marc does most of this responsibility now, I've never stopped feeling guilty about not being at daycare every day. I don't, however, have the same guilt about putting Hannah on the school bus each day, standing in a huddle with other working parents before we race off to our cars or the train. Parents aren't even allowed very far past the school doors anyway!

But there is one huge thing that I will really miss, and that's the entire community of people that the daycare years have brought into my life. I've made so many connections throughout each of these classes, and I think to some degree we all helped each other navigate these crazy first years of parenting. There are dozens and dozens of kids that I can see age in front of my eyes, whether it's on Facebook or that chance meeting out somewhere, where the passage of time is physically evident in ways that are harder to see in my own children. There are the tips we've traded along the sidelines of birthday parties, the careers we've discussed over playdates, and the late night emails where we tried hard to figure out what's best. We've been through a lot together during an intense period of life, and I'll miss it.

Oh, wait...now I've made myself a bit sad again. Well, good thing I've got nine more months to enjoy it all.

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