One Tuesday night at 7:10 PM my 5yr old asked, “Mommy, may I call Ms. Suzann?”
Looking at the clock and noting the time, I responded, “Sure. You can try to call her, but she may already be in bed.”
Running to get himself ready for bed, Charlie yelled from his room, “Tell me when you’re ready.” (He needed me to enter Suzann’s phone number.)
I told him I was ready, and he appeared immediately, wearing only his pajama bottoms. Smiling, I dialed the number for him. As I handed him the phone I reminded him, “Please don’t get upset if she doesn’t answer. Just leave her a message. You’ll see her in the morning.” He took the phone, pressing it against his ear, and walked away.
Several minutes pass, and I did not hear anything. I assumed Suzann had gone to bed, and Charlie had to leave a message. So, I walked back to Charlie’s room to get the phone and make sure he wasn’t sad.
When I got to his room, I found Charlie sitting on the couch and talking on the phone. “She’s there?” I asked quietly. Charlie nodded while simultaneously answering a question asked of him from the other side of the phone.
Charlie remained on the couch, talking with Ms. Suzann for over 8 minutes. Two nights later, again, he was on the phone with her for another 8+ minutes.
Who is Ms. Suzann? Ms. Suzann is a godsend. Really.
Ms. Suzann is our daycare provider. In late 2005/early 2006, right around the time Joe celebrated his first birthday, he began going to Suzann’s house 5 days a week. While Rob and I spent our days at work, Joe spent his time with Suzann and the other kids.
While pregnant with Charlie, I waited as long as possible before asking Suzann if she would let Charlie come to her place, too. Generally speaking, Suzann’s classroom is filled with toddlers and pre-k kids, not infants. When I finally mustered the courage to ask Suzann, her face lit up and she smiled widely. Apparently, she had been waiting for me to ask, and she was beginning to get nervous – fearing I had other plans. So, late in 2006, when Charlie was 3 months old, he began spending his weekdays at Suzann’s house.
Suzann has been a part of our lives for nearly six years. For nearly six years, Suzann has been a second mother to our boys. For nearly six years, Suzann has been a friend to me. For nearly six years, Suzann has been an inspiration for and a positive force in our family.
She put up with my crazed 1st-time mother moments. Then, we laughed about my 1st-time mother moments, when I graduated to 2nd-time mother. Oh what a difference a second baby makes.
Suzann always encouraged the boys, whose minds were like sieves. Oh, sorry. I mean, she encouraged the boys, whose minds were like steel
plates traps. (I’m the one with a steel-plated mind like a sieve.)
I’ve mentioned Suzann in previous posts. “Just another day at daycare” is about an afternoon I spent at the Log Lodge, taking pictures of the kids for a class calendar. Another post was created after I caused a ruckus by mentioning the word scabies and my boys in a Facebook status. “Itching with Inspiration” is based on the response of some of the parents in the classroom. ‘I miss the good ol’ days‘ is another post written in response to a grumbling parent.
Poor Suzann … she’s been so kind to me and my obnoxious ways. Seems I always try to stir up
a good laugh trouble.
The type of environment Suzann provides the kids is second to none. She taught my boys compassion and respect for the natural world around them. With several acres of land to explore, the boys’ love for nature started growing while in Suzann’s care. In addition, the grass airstrip next to the Log Lodge provided a source of entertainment as airplanes, biplanes and hot air balloons took off and landed right before their eyes.
When transportation workers were repaving the road in front of the Log Lodge, Suzann and the kids took several glasses of water to share with the work crew. The work crew took the time to talk with the kids about the equipment and machines they were using to repave the road.
I asked Joe to name his two favorite things about going to Ms. Suzann’s house. “I liked how we always did fun stuff, like riding around in the work horse. And, I liked seeing my other friends.”
When I asked Charlie to name his to favorite things about going to Ms. Suzann’s house, he said “Seeing Ms. Suzann and riding in the workhorse.”
Coincidentally, when I asked the boys what they would miss most about going to Ms. Suzann’s house they both said they would miss seeing Ms. Suzann and their friends, as well as riding in the workhorse.
As I mentioned earlier, sometimes Charlie will ask if he can call Ms. Suzann before he goes to bed. If he forgets to give her a hug and a kiss when he leaves to go home, he is unable to go to bed without shedding several tears. Though Charlie will tell us most nights that he misses Ms. Suzann, the nights he forgets to hug and kiss her, he is a a mess – one big and adorably sad mess. Only a phone call to his beloved teacher will cure his aching heart.
I shot the following video, while picking up Charlie at the end of the day. Initially, I wanted to capture a still shot of Suzann walking down the sidewalk with Charlie. However, realizing this was one of the last times I would pick up my son at our daycare provider’s house, I decided I wanted to capture all of it. Every movement – every single hug and kiss moment.
Thank you for allowing me to share this with you. This is personal, as is most of my blog. I felt I needed to shout out to the world – to God – that I am thankful for what my family had these past 5+ years. I did not take one year, one month, one week or one day with Suzann for granted.
I’ve had my fair share of incredible teachers in my life, and I am confident the same will hold true for Joe and Charlie. Although, after Ms. Suzann, the teaching bar is set high – incredibly high. Good luck future teachers, you have some very large shoes to fill.
Ms. Suzann, words do not express the love and gratitude we have for you. I suspect the sadness I feel now, as our family graduates from the Log Lodge, is second only to the sadness I’ll feel when the boys go off to college. I’ll let you know when that happens, because this is not good-bye. We’ll return for visits, over and over again. (And, we won’t ask for permission. *wink* *wink*)