This post is going to drive Eric, my biggest fan, INSANE.  This post is a love letter to Gloria, Evie’s daycare provider.

Gloria lives in a neat-as-a-pin little house with a white picket fence, flowers, a vegetable garden and a big side deck.  Inside, the hardwood floors are always swept and gleaming, there are lots of brightly-colored toys, books and stuffed animals and there’s even a little menu posted.  

Upon hearing me say she is a godsend, Gloria would blush and declare, “Go on away from here, girl!”  But, people, Gloria is a godsend.

First of all, and most importantly, Evie loves Gloria.  Almost every morning after I plunk her car seat down on the floor of Gloria’s living room, Evie looks up, grins at Ms.  Gloria and starts moving her legs back and forth excitedly.   Gloria loves Evie.  She always greets “Scoot” with a smile and something nice to say.  This morning, she made much over Evie’s little outfit, admiring her “cute britches” and going on about how Evie could wear any color.  It was the cutest thing ever, people.

Some mornings, Evie doesn’t smile up at Gloria.  She keeps her eyes on me as if to ask, “Where you goin’, Mama?”  On these mornings, Gloria whisks Evie away so quickly, calling over shoulder, “‘bye, Mommy!  Have a good day!”  Although I fight the lump in my throat all the way back to my car, I’m so grateful for Gloria’s intuition and wisdom. 

Gloria loves all of her charges.  Even the ones who drive her batcrap insane.  Like J.  J was a little hellion from hell that left the flames of hell in his wake.  He kicked, he screamed, he took other kids’ toys.  Sometimes Gloria would look so tired when I came at the end of the day to get Evie.  She ruminated for months over what to do about J.  He could be such a sweet boy, and if his parents would just get it together and provide the discipline he was begging for, he could be reformed.  And what if she did dismiss him from her care?  Where would he wind up?  Would they be as patient as she?  As kind?  God forbid, would they hurt J? 

In the end, she had to think of Evie and the other little girl she keeps.  J was creating a stressful environment for all of them, and it wasn’t fair to Eve and C to keep J around, no matter how much she cared for and worried about him.  So, with a heavy heart, Gloria let J go.  She wished him and his parents well and hoped he would fall into capable hands.

I jumped for joy because I was sick of that little brat.  Just sayin’.

But it meant a lot to me to know how much she struggled with the decision.  I had always liked Gloria before and thought she was competent, reliable and had a lot of experience.  But the “J problem”, as it came to be known, really showed me her heart.  I’ve never looked back since.

Gloria doesn’t know about this blog.  She thinks I’m normal, and I treasure that ill-conceived notion.  But if she did read it, I’d want her to know how much I think of her.  How it was sheer luck that we found her and a blessing that we did.  I’d want her to know how it makes me feel that my precious, precious little girl is in her care.  How it takes away some of the guilt, some of the fear.  How she’s worth every dollar we pay her and so much more.

Maybe she already sees it in Scoot’s smile.

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