‘I cried as we pulled into the parking lot that first day, and I’ll cry today, the last day, for a different reason.’: Mom shares heartfelt gratitude for daycare at youngest’s graduation

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I actually sat down and did the math.

That’s the number of times I’ve pulled in and out of this daycare parking lot over the past six years.

Each of my children started at the same daycare center seven minutes from my home when they were three months old. I cried as we pulled into the parking lot that first day, and I’ll cry today, the last day, for a different reason.

This was the place that cared for my children while I oscillated between loving my life as a working mom and being terrified I had made the wrong choice.

These are the people who answered my questions, and phone calls, and emails, with the patience and understanding of professionals who get it’s hard to let go of a little hand.

This was the place that kept my children safe, happy, and engaged while I did what I needed to do to keep myself and my family safe, happy, and engaged. For us, that meant two working parents, careers we love, and a team that made it all possible.

These are the people I handed my children to as babies, and toddlers, and preschoolers, and the people who looked at me with reassuring eyes when I needed it most.

Each season, my kids brought home handprint Mother’s Day cards, cotton ball Christmas presents, and stick-figure drawings ensuring my fridge stayed decorated and my heart stayed full.

Each day, I got a report about the grilled cheese sandwiches they ate, the game they played outside, and the letter they were learning to scrawl with crayon. Those reports kept me tethered to their days away from me, and made me thankful someone with abundant patience was helping them explore with shaving cream and paint.

Monday will come and I won’t be making the seven minute drive to this parking lot in the morning, though I have a feeling there will be days when I turn left without thinking to make my way down that road.

It was this parking lot, this building, these people, that helped shape my children into the wonderful little humans they are today. It has also shaped me.

Today is our last day pulling into the parking lot, and looking back on each of those days that helped create a life we love, I wouldn’t change a thing.

Thank you.”

four preschool friends walk together in graduation caps with graduation balloons
Courtesy of Becca Carnahan

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Becca Carnahan. You can follow her journey on  Instagram and her websiteSubmit your own story here and be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.

Read more from Becca here:

‘Why do I include ‘mom’ in my professional bios? Because these two are with me every step I take.’: Mom shares how her children are an integral part of her professional identity

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‘It’s confusing, this motherhood business. But it’s beautiful.’: Woman shares changes, new ‘states of being’ after becoming a mother

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