You know who you are

Dear Former Daycare Provider,

I'm so looking forward to seeing you tomorrow night... but in this moment, there are some things I want to share with you... things that need to be put into writing about the impact you had on our lives. Lets start with the important stuff...

When I met you, I knew two things.

  1. I desperately needed quality, competent daycare for my developmentally disabled daughter
  2. I was heartily sick of interviewing borderline daycares who were more interested in my wallet than supporting the needs of my daughter

While K3's needs weren't huge, they were definite. No amount of negotiation would convince the school district to send special transportation for her. Not until she had been evaluated. No, it didn't matter that she'd qualified for County Birth to Three services. And yes, it would take at least 8 weeks to evaluate her. Yes, they knew it was "inconvenient". Surely she could ride the traditional bus. Yes, they understood my concerns. No, it didn't matter. I had tried and failed to get a transfer to the school district her current provider lived in. I'd held her out of school as long as I could. I needed a daycare that would a) provide a low-key home-like environment for her and b) provide transportation to and from school until at least winter, when her evaluation would be complete and we could make other arrangements.

By the time I got to you, I'd met providers who would watch from their window while she walked down to the bus. I'd met providers who wished they could but had a friend that might. I'd met providers that made her so nervous she puked (literally). I'd met providers that wanted to know how often I would pay them or if I'd ever bounced a check. I'd seen smelly houses, dirty toys and unkept playrooms. Much like dating someone and knowing why they're single after a short conversation, I quickly understood why these people had openings.

And then I met you. It's no exaggeration to say you stood out like a rose in the middle of a weed patch. You toured me through a clean playroom, showed me your credentials from your ongoing classes at the college... you even had a handbook for your daycare. You talked about your philosophy on working with kids...And you would drive her to and from school because you thought it was too far for any child to walk. Best of all, you were not intimidated by a child whose needs were a little different. It was an easy decision and as it turns out, one of the best decisions I've ever made. On the first day of school, when they lost K3, you were the one sending out the alarm, calling TOG, making sure they figured out where they lost her.

The thing I love most about you...? It's so hard to pick one thing. You were dependable. I could count on you to care for K3, to help me with her education plans, give me feedback, show us what she was doing at your place. You were relaxed around kids and you enjoyed each of your children for who they were. You were a great communicator, with the kids, with us. And you were patient as hell when I lost pretty much everything you ever gave me to sign! You were everything a great provider should be and worth every penny and more.

What I didn't expect to gain was a friend. Sitting with your family at the Pier for fireworks... Conversations while we worked on hair color, nails and waxing... I always appreciated your outlook on life, children, husbands, family, music, concerts, even pets. And your sense of humor always shown through! You are quite simply one of the nicest people I've ever met! And you're the only person I've ever called from a U2 concert to tell that Eddie Vedder was on the stage with the Kings of Leone!

But the most important thing.... because of you, K3 is the girl she is today. You gave her stability and freedom, a safe place to be herself and acceptance for who she was. No matter how tough a day she had at school, she always felt relaxed with your and your children. You were both her advocate and her confidant and though she can probably never tell you those things, I will. Thank you for all that you gave so effortlessly. You are one in a million!