Well, as anyone with kids knows, one of the toughest decisions you will make comes in finding child care for you infant. I still remember 5 years ago, I was still pregnant with Juliana and I knew the only place I wanted my daughter was at Mrs. West's daycare. We prayed for an opening (she was the place everyone wanted to be and the only time she had space available was when her kids graduated to kindergarten). It was a long shot, but we prayed and by some miracle Juliana got a spot. It was a painfully hard decision made easy. Mrs. West house is just that place you could walk into and "just know" it was the right place.
We watched Juliana grow and change there. Mrs. West was there when we started to notice something was wrong with Juliana. She was there through all the tests we went through searching for an answer. She was there when I found out I was pregnant with Olivia. She was there when we got the dreaded diagnosis. And yes, there for all the therapy appointments when ECI would go out to her house. Juliana formed an immediate bond to her. And yes, thank God when Olivia was born, there was a spot for her too. It was awesome having them both there, together at Mrs. West house. When Juliana turned 3 it was time for her to go to another place that could meet her needs and provide therapy, but Mrs. West continued to be a part of her life. Here are a few of my favorite pictures from that time.
Did I mention that Mrs. West is an excellent cook. She introduced my kids to all kinds of fish, every kind of vegetable (including eggplant) all kinds of beans and because of this are both excellent eaters.
Juliana's first piano lesson at Mrs. West house.
This is David, Mrs. West's son. Her whole family became like our own.
Juliana was like their living doll. They took such good care of her.
Juliana and Faith. They literally grew up together.
This is when our little Olivia made her debut. Of course Mrs. West was there to meet her newest student.
The last class photo
One of the many science experiments at Mrs. West house. This was the caterpillar one. Good thing she got that lesson there because I sure wasn't about to do it.
Which brings us to the present day. This spring Mrs. West decided to retire after 25 years of loving our children. This has been such a bittersweet moment for us all. Olivia is 3 and I know she is ready for pre-school. I know she will be in a good place. And I know Juliana is in a good place as well, I am just heart broken that this special lady will not be a part of our every day life. When someone is with you through so many milestones, it's just hard to say good bye. And I know we are not saying a permanent good bye. I know she will still be in our lives just not in an everyday kind of a way. I will miss going to pick up Olivia and falling into her couch, talking about how our days had gone with her and the other moms. Being surprised with an art or science project they had worked on or a new skill Olivia had learned. Okay, enough crying! Thank you Mrs. West and the whole West Clan. You have been like family to us and we will always have a special place in our hearts for you.
Here is the official graduating class of 2011
Here is the group singing Juliana's favorite "This is the day!" As a final performance:
And here is a video that we put together for her filled with just a few of our favorite memories.