Today marks a very unusual day for our family. A bitter sweet day at the end of an era. Today, is my last working day and technically the start of my year long maternity leave. The start of my year as a Stay-At-Home-Mum. As well as being the beginning of a journey I’m looking forward to and equally terrified of, it’s the end of a time in our lives that admittedly seemed never ending. Three years ago, plus one month, I went back to work after a very, very short maternity leave. I took the standard six months which in reality meant A was a tiny five months old when I wandered back into my office in April 2014. That beautiful, small baby was handed over every day B and I went to work to an incredible woman, B’s Aunty P.
We had debated crèche’s like every parent, but while I was pregnant, P offered to mind A while we worked. To say we jumped at the chance is an understatement. P only got the offer out and it stuck like glue. We desperately wanted A to be cared for and loved by family while we worked so P never got to rescind the offer, not that she would have. But today is the last day. From tomorrow A is home with Momma Bear. As a writer, I have to admit that this post has been on my mind for an awfully long time, but oddly, as a writer, I’m finding it very difficult to write it, simply because there are no words, or at least, not enough words in our language to express our incredible gratitude and love for Aunty P and everything she has done for us and for A in the last three years.
I know these last few weeks have been very hard for P who has loved and enjoyed having A every day. I know there have been tears as today approaches and I really hope I don’t open the floodgates for her with this post. (Mental note, call P tonight!) So, I know today is a hard day, a bitter sweet day. You see, every morning without fail, P would greet A with a smile and hug and A would happily and lovingly greet her Great Aunt back. They are best friends. They love each other so much and probably know each other better than anyone else. I know this last week, which was also a short three day week, has not been easy on P as she has counted down the days to today which was the last time A would skip in her door and look for her breakfast. But it’s not the end.
Aside from wanting to thank P for everything she has done for us, I want her to know that the bond and the relationship she has with A is everlasting. It’s real, and secure and holds a love that no one can ever take away from her. Today might have been a last day but it’s not an ending.
The last three years have not been easy on any of us but knowing A was with someone we had huge trust in and love for made it easier. Being working parents has been hard, as we missed out on so much of our baby’s life, as we longed to be with her, and how much we hated dragging her out of bed and straight into the car at 7am for a commute that was too long for a toddler. But needs must and it had to be done. With the arrival of Little Bean on our radar and the start of my maternity leave, life is changing for all of us. We’ve taken this opportunity while we have it and who knows what the future might bring. So, for now, it’s the end of the morning mad dash at an ungodly hour, the end of waking A up while she dreamt of being in the Scooby Gang, and the end of long commutes (for A and me at least! Sorry B).
Three years doesn’t seem that long but when you imagine a small baby turning into an independent three year old, the years have stretched with every milestone, every tooth and every word learnt.
P has seen A go from a gurgling, teething baby to a mighty, fierce, batman loving, strong willed three year old. She was watched every change with a close eye, she has seen how quickly those changes happen and she has loved every minute of it. I know she has.
What I want P to know is how much B and I love and appreciate her. How much we cherish the fact that A has been with her all these years and not in a crèche. How amazing we know she is with A and how much love and attention she has given A throughout her little life.
We want and need to scream it from the rooftops how much we love you P. The words Thank You will never be enough.
We can never repay you for giving our daughter love, a safe and caring home, for teaching her, and showing her the world. We can never repay you for lifting an incredible financial burden from us. If it wasn’t for you, we wouldn’t have been able to save for a deposit to move to our forever home. The home we will raise A and her sister in. We’re here, in part, because of you. We can never repay you for giving us the security and safety of knowing that our daughter was perfectly ok with you. We never had to worry. We never had to wonder how she was during the day. We never had to question if she was being looked after properly or being raised the way we wanted her to be raised. You never questioned our ridiculous first time parent, overwhelming, over-exaggerated, over-protective routine.
We love you so, so, so much P! Thank you, truly, from the bottom of our hearts, for everything you have done, not just for A but also for us. We will never forget the last three years.
But again, this is not an end. It’s a new cycle. We’ve always been close with P and I remember her routinely visiting us when B and I first moved into our apartment all those years ago (12 years to be exact). I’ve always admired the closeness and the love that B and P had and I was so quickly brought into that circle. Aunty P is not my aunt-in-law, she’s my family. I’m as close to her as if we were blood relatives too and the last three years, the way she loves our daughter has only strengthened my own love for her and my closeness to her. Over the last few years, I haven’t gotten to see P all that often, but that’s going to change. And where I am, A will be, so Aunty P, you’re going to see a lot of me as well as A now too 🙂
Remember, this is not the end Aunty P. It’s a change. And a change is as good as a rest and Lord knows, after three years you could probably do with a rest!
So, Aunty P, on that note, just wondering, are you free to babysit next week? 😀