When C was almost 4 months old, during a car ride with my Mum up at my parent’s lake house, I got a call. I answered the phone. I listened and then I started whooping for joy. I was G*I*D*D*Y. My mother, ever the calm, cool, former Brit, looked at me aghast.
“Good heavens dear,” she asked. “What is it?
“C GOT INTO DAYCARE!” I yelled, fist pumping and doing a little dance at the same time.
“D,” she said (using my FULL name). “Don’t you think you’re being a little extreme. It’s not like she got into Harvard.”
But, here’s the thing. For us it WAS like she got into Harvard.
At that point, we were in the last four weeks of my maternity leave and the first four weeks of B’s 12-weeks of FMLA (yes, he is an awesome husband and Daddy). Once that ended we had, as of the time of that call, nowhere to put our baby as we schlepped back to the adult world of everyday work. We were on half a dozen daycare “wait lists” in Charlotte, none was looking particularly good and we were, I’ll admit, starting to panic. It was easy to (sort of) forget about it as well enjoyed the halcyon days together living at the lake in a quiet Canadian town. We saw moose, we relaxed, we spent amazing, precious time with our baby, but always in the back of our heads there was the call of “where will she go in 8 weeks…”
On top of that, there were really only two of the six daycares where C was wait listed that we actually WANTED to get into. Both were in downtown (Uptown, Center City, you pick…) Charlotte – minutes from my office, on an easy route from our house. Only one was 100% what we wanted. For us, that one was the Harvard of daycare (Yale, Oxford, you take your pick). So when I got the call from Ms. Janice at First United Methodist Child Development Center – our FIRST choice, that they had a spot for C starting when B went back to work I went a little berserk. And frankly, I never, ever thought we’d have to go through it again. FUMCDC goes through pre-k, so C was set until she started kindergarten. Only, she wasn’t, because now we are moving to D.C. and we had to find a new daycare.
So yesterday I got another call. A call from the Children’s International School on Arlington Blvd., about 1 mile from where we will live and directly across the street from the FSI where B will spend his days becoming a diplomat. They have an opening for C starting in September.
Don’t get me wrong, I was excited. We had a “Big Three” of tasks to accomplish before we felt like we’d be “ok” – (1) confirming where we were going to live in DC, (2) renting our house and (3) getting C into a good daycare. We’ve now checked the box on all three and things are really falling into place. BUT, the loss I feel for C as she leaves her friends (her besties A and G in particular), and the amazing teachers and director at FUMCDC, is palpable. I thanked the CIS director profusely. I called B excited. But giddy I was not.
Because, while I’m sure CIS is wonderful…it’s not like getting into Harvard.