we’re pretty much done with bad news. had enough. not interested. can’t take any more. seriously.
so when shannon walked through the door the other evening and announced “i have terrible news” it was all i could do not to break into tears. and that was before i even knew what was wrong.
and then he hit me. hard. told me that kresta had called him and given her notice.
now, i’m thinking that we haven’t said nearly enough about our daycare situation for anybody to understand how truly devastating this is. kresta and her two daughters — elizabeth, 4 and piper, 2 — have been spending three days a week with eamon and mairin since i went back to work last december. finding kresta was our own personal version of winning the lottery. we could not afford to send both mairin and eamon to the daycare that mairin was attending when eamon was born, and as much as s and i really love our jobs neither of was ready to quit. the search for quality day care is not an easy one — it’s kind of like job-hunting, apartment-hunting, and having a hangover all at once. but after informal interviews with about a dozen people who responded to a craigslist ad, we were ready to meet two women face to face: jamie and kresta.
we liked jamie. she said “holey-moley” a lot, but hey, she’s from the ‘burbs. she was sweet and affectionate and clearly was looking for a family she would feel comfortable with. we liked that. and she was up for trips to the zoo, the park, the children’s museum. she seemed nice and good and fine.
and then we met kresta.
kresta showed up at our front door, piper and elizabeth in tow, about half an hour after jamie had left. the three girls took to each other immediately, tearing around the front yard and hollerin’ up a storm. kresta was smitten with 7-week old eamon, and it was easy to see that she meant it when she talked about loving to care for infants. when piper had an unexpected accident we grabbed a spare pair of mairin’s pants for piper to wear. kresta was mortified — less by piper’s accident than by her own lack of preparedness for it — but i simply realized how natural it was for all of us to look out for each other, to help each other out. in that moment i was sold. kresta and her girls stayed so long playing that she had to call her husband to assure him that she wasn’t being held hostage by psycho-craigslist-posters. it was all i could not to offer the job on the spot.
it took s & me about 4 seconds to talk things over and agree that we wanted to hire kresta. she was thrilled. she’s a PT nursing student and was looking for a position to carry her through until elizabeth starts school — at least a year and half away. perfect. perfect. we were all so happy and it was all so perfect.
and it has been a thing of beauty, this relationship. the kids adore each other. mairin asks about piper and elizabeth all the time when they’re not here, and has even named two dolls (well, one doll and one weird disney-princess-head) after them. she has lengthy conversations with ariel/elizabeth and bald baby doll/piper about thomas & percy & gordon, or about grocery shopping and running errands, or going potty. you know, the stuff of toddlerhood. eamon is smitten by the girls as a group: if he’s having a rough morning it only takes mairin, piper and elizabeth sitting around him singing a song to send him into infant ecstasy, huge toothy grin and arms a-flappin’. mairin is an obedient gem of a child for kresta, eamon doesn’t like to be taken from her arms, piper gives me a hug every morning when i head off to work…it’s a good, good thing.
when kresta needed to register for summer term classes we gave her the password to log onto our laptop so that she could stay home with the kids and just register online. when she told us later that afternoon that one of the classes she needed had been full neither shannon nor i thought much of it. big deal, right? you miss a class here, you take it another time, you fill it in with something else, life and the educational system carry on.
or they don’t. for kresta, missing this class threw her PT schedule off enough to set her back a year — something about prerequisites and how often courses are offered and what she’s eligible for as a part-timer…all stuff i understand and believe but just didnt bother to think about, having never been a mother in school on a part-time basis. after a lot of conversation with her own family, kresta decided that she couldn’t afford to be set back a year. even though the only way to avoid that is to go to school full time. starting this summer. well, starting may 11. which means the end of our good, good thing.
kresta called shannon and told him over the phone. she was sobbing and so so sorry and so so sad that it was hard for them to get any useful information from each other. so kresta and i talked later that evening, and i got the skinny and we both cried but i told her i understood and would probably have made the same decision myself. and i would have — family first and all that — but still. still.
and now the new craigslist ad is up, and we have three potential new caregivers to interview this week, and everything will work out one way or another. in the meantime, every morning that kresta comes over we three adults look at each other and it’s obvious that we’re fighting tears. kresta says she doesn’t know how to tell elizabeth and piper that they won’t be coming over any more. my heart breaks into a million little pieces when i imagine my weekly monday night conversation with mairin: instead of yes! piper and elizabeth are coming over tomorrow!, i’ll have to tell her no, they’re not coming tomorrow, or the next day. no, honey, even if you set out elizabeth’s favorite dinosaur cup for breakfast she won’t be here. even if we make pancakes and eat them from the monster plates they won’t be able to come over. yes, honey, i know you miss them. yes, i know you want to play with them. i know i know i know. i just can’t do anything about it.
so while this will work out just fine, i’m certain, i also feel a bit like this is another cincy-bite-in-the-butt. something was finally working and now it’s not.
okay, so really, REALLY this time, cincinnati, i mean it. enough. please. just for a little while. okay?