I have just finished up my junior year as an Early Childhood major. Next fall, as a senior, things will intensify significantly as I become within arms-length of my degree. Course work, practicums, student teaching, and lesson plans will take up the majority of my time, so in response to my professors’, my work advisor’s, and experienced students’ advice, I have decided to not continue working, at the childcare center I’ve been working at for a year and a half, next fall.
This is where the heartbreak comes in. The foundation of effective education is relationships. So, after working with this group of toddlers for 10 months, I’ve become increasingly attached.
I’ve watched their language and personalities rapidly develop.
I’ve celebrated their 2nd birthdays with them.
I’ve helped potty train them.
I’ve witnessed how quickly they learn the alphabet, learn to count, learn how to imaginatively play, recognize the first letter of their names, learn to voice their opinions.
I’ve learned to understand their developing language and requests when onlookers would have no idea what they were saying.
I’ve watched the little girls’ hair grow long enough for pigtails.
I’ve held their sticky hands.
I’ve held them in my lap.
I’ve eaten copious amounts of the pretend food they’ve made me.
I’ve rocked them to sleep.
I’ve helped teach them manners, how to say “please” and “thank you”.
I’ve welcomed their hugs. Their sloppy kisses.
I’ve had the honor of nurturing and caring for these children, their parents’ greatest treasure, worth more than any silver or gold.
I’ve loved them.
But now…. It’s time to say goodbye.
Within the past two weeks I’ve been aware of all the lasts. Cuddling them more. Holding their hands a little tighter. Rocking them longer than necessary because I know I’ll never rock them again.
I wrote a Facebook post about time, and how quickly time escapes us. My time with these children has run out and I am so thankful that I had the time with them that I did. I know this is just the beginning of my heartbreaking goodbyes as an educator. As educators we love these children with our whole hearts, but, sadly, we only get them for a little while, not forever.
I know that as time passes they’ll get even bigger, and smarter, and I won’t be there to witness it, but I’ve had the privilege of watching them grow and develop during such a significant time in their lives.
They’re so little. They’re going to forget me and the relationships we once had.
But I’ll never forget them.