It’s Not All Mary Poppins


Yesterday I said goodbye to Emily and Tyler.

It’s probably my social ineptness, but I find these goodbyes really awkward. You say goodbye, you say you’ll miss each other, you say you’ve enjoyed getting to know each other… and then…

You do it all over again. You say those things again, and the parents don’t leave, and they say them again, and I feel like I can’t go in the house until they do, and maybe they feel like they can’t leave until I go in… and we keep saying all those things all over again.

I know what it is. Nobody quite knows how to turn the page on this chapter in our lives. We all sort of want to say something more, something that will sum up two or three — or in this case, almost five — years of relationship. So we all stand around, each wanting to say the One True and Meaningful Thing that will make it real, sum it up, draw it neatly to a close… and at the same time, we don’t want it to draw to a close.

(Okay, so that’s not 100% true 100% of the time. Once in a while there is a client (usually the parent) I am DELIGHTED to see the last of. In one sense, those are even weirder goodbyes because I still say the same things (because I am a professional who doesn’t believe in burning bridges). I say them, but I don’t mean them. I just want it OVER. However, in those cases, after I’ve said it once, I generally smile, wave goodbye, and close the door. So it’s weird, but at least it’s quick and efficient.)

It’s when the affection is real, and the regrets sincere that it gets truly awkward.

I wish I knew a better way. Now, I’ve let them know they’re invited to the next daycare social event. And they’ve invited Wonderful Husband and me to dinner in a week. But still, that final goodbye, when we know their children will never be coming here again. It’s awkward.

This morning, I peel Tyler and Emily’s names off their storage bin, and off their coat hanger. I peel them off, and put another child’s name in their place.

And I feel … disloyal.


August 19, 2011 - Posted by | daycare, Emily, parents, Tyler | , , ,


  1. It works so much more smoothly as a teacher. You peel all the names off and say goodbye to all the kids together. There are years that I taught the same child a second year (in special ed) but we didn’t always know they’d be with me again. And yet, there are many kids who left who I was sorry to see go, and I remember feeling teary at their final departure.

    Comment by Jill in Atlanta | August 19, 2011 | Reply

  2. ::hugs::

    Comment by Melissa V | August 20, 2011 | Reply

  3. Sniff. Maybe Emily will return as cruise director one day!

    Comment by Hedy @ Penny for my Thoughts | August 20, 2011 | Reply

  4. Would a rite of passage thingy help? My daughter’s caregiver gave a little (5 – 6 pages) photo album to the family on departure which made things an ‘official’ closure, was a very nice keepsake and gave everyone an easier time of letting go.

    What a lovely idea! (Too bad your son’s caregiver wasn’t so thoughtfully creative. 😀 ) Though I did make them each a going-away gift. It didn’t seem to help…

    Comment by Darcy's Mom | August 22, 2011 | Reply

    • We (I) have hung onto ‘my son’s’ caregiver like cold death. Completely selfish. She make me guffaw and did a marvellous job turning him into a great little man. Not about to let that go without a fight!

      Comment by Darcy's Mom | August 22, 2011 | Reply

  5. Sigh. Sometimes transitions can be so… sad.

    Indeed. Sigh.

    Comment by rosie_kate | August 23, 2011 | Reply

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