A week or so ago, Kristin wrapped up her final school year in the Bronx, which means the kids had their last official day at the home day care that has been their second home for nearly their entire lives. Gladys and her family (including her sister, Carmen, who was the twins’ primary caretaker) have been such a incredible blessing to us, and knowing that the kids won’t be in their care anymore breaks my heart a little bit. Jude and Vivienne are young enough that they’ll probably never even remember the pretty blue house on Morsemere Ave., and I while I truly hope that Jonah remembers some of his time there, he’s young enough not to feel any sadness about leaving (at least not yet). I cried a little bit on the morning of their last day, however, because I know how significant this transition is.
I still remember Kristin doing research to find care for Jonah well before he was even born. She visited a number of places, both fancy centers and modest home care providers, and the search was Goldilocks-like. Too sterile and cold, friendly and warm but unclean, and then she visited Gladys. She told me that she thought Gladys might be the one, and she brought me back to meet her and to visit the place one evening in the fall. Gladys is a woman of few words, she’s kind but humble and didn’t go to great lengths to sell us on the place, but she answered every question, provided references upon request, and showed us the two simple rooms where the children would spend so many hours of their lives. When we walked back to the car I started to cry. Not because there was anything wrong with Gladys and her home, but because I couldn’t imagine leaving my tiny baby (who I hadn’t even met yet) with anyone. I knew already that I would want to be with him every second of the day. Still, I knew that I would have to return to work eventually and that he needed care, and I trusted Kristin’s instincts.
When I went back to work, Kristin dutifully dropped Jonah off with Gladys and she cried too. In those early days I had so many questions and concerns and fears about whether he was in the right place, but as the weeks and months wore on, we grew to love everything about Gladys and her family. Jonah was so happy there, everyone in the family was so kind and loving, and Gladys was one of the most patient and unflappable people I’d ever met. When Kristin was pregnant with the twins and we learned that Gladys was willing to upgrade her certification and bring on a second caretaker in order to be able to take the twins we were elated. We couldn’t imagine leaving them with anyone else. All three of the children have been thriving under her care, and the care of her sister.
Every time we’ve struggled with a parenting issue and sometimes even a life issue, we’ve found the counsel of Gladys and Luis to be so very reassuring. When Kristin was pregnant and we were worried about the finances of raising three children, Luis told us that he believes that babies come with a loaf of bread under their arms. He told us stories of the years when he and Gladys had so little, and miracles that came into their lives that allowed things to work out, including the how they came to buy their beautiful home. Every time some unexpected blessing came our way, we thought of Luis and his advice, and we knew that he was right. In many ways, this move is just one more step in that quest to give our children the kind of life that we want them to have, so I know that Gladys and Luis support our decision completely.
The kids will likely go back for one final day when the movers come to pack us up, but I wonder if we’ll see their family again after that. Kristin dreams of taking everyone to Puerto Rico someday when they’re down there, so we’ll have to put that on the wish list. In the meantime I’ll be sending lots of pictures and and thanking the universe for the three and a half years of love, learning, and affection that our little ones have gained.