It was a big week for me. Last week, I turned in my resignation to my principal. And this week, I told the parents at my daycare that I wouldn't be returning for the next school year.
I know I've talked about my job before, so forgive me for repeating myself. For the last 5 1/2 years, I've been working full time with infants and toddlers. I've been the director at my current school for the last 2 years. In that time, I've witnessed first words, first steps, first roll-overs. I have been entirely tickled and riveted by the wisdom and humor of young children. Most importantly, I've become a part of a larger family. Taking care of other people's children is an intimate thing, and it is near impossible to not begin to feel like a part of their family.
I have reassured fabulous new moms having to drop off their babies at daycare for the first time. I have encouraged parents to follow their dreams, which more than once has included pulling their child out of daycare and staying home with them. I have listened to gripes about unhelpful spouses, demanding jobs, nosey mother-in-laws, and the darling little ones themselves. I may not have a baby, but I've helped raise a lot of them. I take pride in that.
It's natural that my emotions were mixed. I'm ready to move on in my life and find a career that I'm newly passionate about. As much as I love my daycare kids, the physical and emotional stress of the job is starting to take its toll. Neither my motivation nor my patience is what it used to be.This is the time to make a change, when the only people I have to take care of are the husband and myself. If not now, when? I made the decision to quit and had gotten right with it in my head months ago. Still, I was nervous about parent response.
But just like a good (surrogate) family should, the parents at my school showed me unconditional support and love. They wished me luck and told me they knew I would be successful. They told me they were proud of me for following my heart. They listened to my goals for the future and helped me refine my plans. It has been an interesting experience to be forced to put my goals into words, but each parent that greeted me with a smile and an open heart helped my answers become more confident. After this week, I'm happier and more assured than ever about my decision. But I also realize the risk I'm taking of leaving my daycare family to pursue the unknown.
In this case, though, the risk is the whole point. The thing that guides my life right now is growing, seeking out, cooking, and eating real food. While I'm not sure exactly how that will manifest itself, I want to be open to whatever is out there. The support from people in my life (the husband, my family and friends, coworkers, the daycare parents) helps keep my fears at bay. I am truly lucky to know such wonderful people.
So to those amazing people in my life who have offered encouragement...those that read this and those that don't...thank you.