#99: Treasure

#99: Treasure
3 minutes to read

I wrote about the cost of childcare recently, which was a bit of a moany rant if I’m honest. But I realised that what I didn’t write about is how amazing these people are, who work in nurseries and pre-schools and schools. So, this is for them. Er, it’s also my first poem so please be kind.

 

Treasure

“Are you coming for a cuddle then?”

“Shall we wave to Mummy from the window?”

You say

As I hand over my children.

I run down the road

To my car. Away. To my ‘actual job’.

 

This is your actual job.

Unfailing. Never cross. With more strength and enthusiasm and cheer and kindness

Than I can sometimes muster.

I pay you. For the good days.

For the sad, snotty, Calpol consent form days.

But those good days? They’ll break my heart if I let them.

 

A first birthday. Carrying her up to the baby room.

Don’tcrydon’tcrydon’tcrydon’tcry

She doesn’t know it’s her birthday, see? Tomorrow, my day off…

…we’ll have a special pretend birthday.

“It’s her birthday today and…” It’s her birthday today.

Hands, tissues, an arm around my shoulder. “It’s ok, Mum. It’s ok.”

 

A cake, party games, candles, a visit from her sister.

All these things you did

On that day

When I paid you, to look after my children

So I could sit at a desk and drink hot tea and wee in peace.

How trite it all seemed. At 4.33pm. When she turned one, without me there.

 

Minds, like little sponges.

How much you teach them! All the new versions

Of songs, and rhymes, and games.

“Baa baa pink sheep, have you any spots?

Yes sir, yes sir, lots and lots.”

I sometimes wish I’d taught her that.

 

My fridge, at home. And my husband’s desk, at work

(most surfaces, actually)

Filled with sheets of card and blobs of glue and cotton wool and splatters of paint

That I can’t be arsed to do with them myself, because of the mess.

You do that. You set up and clear up and carefully peg artwork

To dry. For me.

 

When I am drained from that job, at that desk, with no meaning

Often too tired to care, really, what they ate for lunch

You tell me anyway. And you show me things, you reassure me

That the baby has just had her nappy changed, so I don’t need to worry.

Then my toddler leans up to kiss you goodbye, and you let her

I realise, you are raising them.

 

You are filling in my gaps

(There are many, many gaps)

We’re doing it together, you and me and my husband and my family.

How many children, have you played Mummy to? Over the years

How many have you waved off, aged four, to school and new beginnings?

How do you cope with that?

 

I saw once. One of my favourite staff, who’s left now

She said goodbye to one of her key children

On her first day of school, as her Dad dropped her brother off in the toddler room.

She turned to me, to take my child, hot tears on flushed cheeks.

“I’m sorry,” she said. “That girl was one of mine

For a long time.”

 

Thank you. Thank you so, so much

For everything that you do, and everything that you are

On those days

When I really don’t have it in me.

You are building these children, shaping these minds

Into treasure.

 

-SJW March 2017

 

 

 

 

 

18 Comments

  1. March 31, 2017 / 9:23 am

    Oh Sam, this is so beautiful – I’m balling my eyes out here because it’s everything I feel about nursery when I pick Emma up. I suppose why it stung yesterday when Emma said she didn’t want to come home. I loved your poem talented lady xxxx

    • March 31, 2017 / 9:32 am

      Thank you – yes, I knew you’d resonate with it because it’s such a strange bundle of emotions and so easy to sweep everything up in the cliche of hot tea and solo wees. Thank you so much for reading xx

  2. March 31, 2017 / 10:09 am

    OMG I’m sharing this. Tears in my eyes!

  3. Ellen
    March 31, 2017 / 12:07 pm

    Ah Sam this is so beautiful. They do such a wonderful job and play such an important role in little one’s lives. I think this will resonate with lots of people! ❤

  4. March 31, 2017 / 1:19 pm

    A beautiful poem, I hope this gets shared far and wide to… Not only have you highlighted the importance of their role as a caregiver, But the gratitude shown within will put lots of smiles on many faces. xxx

  5. March 31, 2017 / 5:59 pm

    I am speechless. Sam this is so beautiful and I literally have tears in my eyes reading it. This needs to be a gift to all of our incredible key people. Absolutely stunning. xx

    • March 31, 2017 / 6:04 pm

      Thanks so much – that’s absolutely wonderful feedback, especially from you where prose is completely your bag! I’m glad you liked it xx

  6. Marie
    March 31, 2017 / 6:15 pm

    ….and also childminders and home childcarers. X

    Beautiful poem. X

    • March 31, 2017 / 7:00 pm

      Oh yes absolutely, it’s only geared towards nursery as that’s all I know, but everyone does a cracking job xx

  7. April 3, 2017 / 11:14 am

    Oh my goodness…this is just beautiful. Might have something in my eye xx

  8. July 16, 2017 / 3:32 pm

    Such beautiful words and thoughts Sam, thank you for sharing.

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