This is our last week at day care.
And this is one aspect of moving that makes me want to sob when I think of leaving here.
Today we had the day off - well, it started with dental appointments, so I'm not sure it really counts as OFF, but we didn't have work or school. So after the dentist we went to the park, and then we went to the park again this afternoon just because we could.
On our second trip the kids rode their bikes to the neighborhood playground, and as usual Bel had a doll buckled into the doll seat on her Trek (today was Cinderella's turn).
While Otto showed me how he's starting to master the monkey bars, Bel tucked her doll in the baby swing. Back and forth, back and forth. I was cheering on Otto when, from the corner of my eye, I saw the doll fly through the air and land in the wood chips. Bel shrieked, and I thought for a moment she was going to cry. But then I realized that she was pretending the doll was shrieking. She immediately went to pick Cinderella up, and tucked her against her right shoulder, left hand patting the dolly's back while she murmered to her. "It's ok," she said, and kissed her doll on the cheek. A professional dolly whisperer.
I watched her thinking, I didn't show her how to do that, how to carry a baby like that. But I know who did. Martha and Heidi and Leslie. Becky and Jenny and Sandy. Nancy and Ashley and Joe and Justin and Megan and Kay and Roy. So many people who've modeled caring behavior while they care for our kids. Making sure they wear sunscreen, keeping them in line, encouraging their interests, throwing fun parties, teaching them... everything. They are the reason Annabel likes tomatoes on Fridays only (classes take turns making lunch for everyone on Fridays during summer, and try out new recipes). They got Otto through preschool despite his troubles -- patience, love, and humor making even the rough days better.
Only in the past week have I been able to think about looking for childcare in our new town. We don't need it just yet -- not until I find work and we have a feel for after-school routines -- but mostly it's because I can't imagine taking my kids anywhere else.
My only comfort is that you can never say goodbye to family. You can move away, but you belong forever.