I have vivid memories of every daycare interview I have ever been on, and I clearly recall sitting at Tonya's kitchen table one evening in November 2007. The difference between Tonya's interview and so many others I've had, was that from the minute we met, I just knew I could trust her. I knew that my kids would be safe and happy and have fun at her house. I knew that she was "the one!" (call it mama instinct!) I drove home from our interview, and was elated to tell Ray "I found her!!!" And thankfully, not only did I find Tonya as a daycare provider, but also as someone who has been such an important part of our family for more than 2 & 1/2 years . . . . Someone who has made a positive and lasting impact on who Henry and Anna are becoming . . . . Someone who is our dear friend!!
In a few weeks, Tonya will be returning to her first profession. She will be teaching 5th grade science. And today is her last day of daycare. Of course, we are so happy for Tonya. I have no doubt that one day her students will reflect back on their school years and list Tonya as one of the teachers who made the biggest difference in their lives. But, for us . . . well it's hard not to be selfish. It's hard not to be sad . . .
Saying "thank you" seems much too simple . . . How can I possible express gratitude to the person, besides Ray and I, who has had the greatest impact on our kids? Every time Henry and Anna have had good news or an accomplishment to share, Tonya has been among the first they want to call. Kids just get it . . . they know who is rooting for them . . . who is on their side!! And from day one, Tonya has been rooting for them with her whole heart! That's just who she is.
I know, that despite Anna moving on to a new daycare and Henry starting 1st grade, both of them will always carry the love and care and kindness Tonya has given them. It is part of who they are.
Tonya also gave us the great gift of her entire family. We will miss having all of them as a daily part of our lives. But we really do look forward to the friendship that will follow!
So, I guess if we have to, we'll move on, just like Tonya is doing. (But, we're totally keeping her number on speed dial!!)
The pictures below are from our party tonight to celebrate and say thanks to Tonya . . . .
Thanks for everything . . .
(click on the pictures to view them larger; posted to Tracey Clark's Best Shot Monday)