Jan 8, 2010

One of Our FIRST Lasts

So, today was Sara Madalin's last day at Mrs. Gail's.

Up until now this blog has been a lot of posts about firsts. First day at church. First time to sit up on her own. First steps. First words. It seems like more and more there are a few posts scattered about here that are about "lasts." I'm just going to put it out there - I like the firsts much better than the lasts. Lasts make me cry. A lot.

When I dropped Sara Madalin off this morning I snapped a quick picture of her with Mrs. Gail. Then I left her and the camera and asked Mrs. Gail to take a few pictures for me throughout the day, just as she did for me the FIRST day I left her there.

This is Sara Madalin with her buddy Noah. You can tell they both enjoy being there. That means so much to me to know that my little girl laughs and smiles and has fun during her day. (Now, from what I've heard, she does her fair share of crying and cutting up to, but we won't talk about that today.)

Here she is with Mr. John. I think she had Mr. John wrapped around her finger from the start.

I remember the first night we met Mr. John and Mrs. Gail at their house. I was talking about why I wanted her in a home daycare, rather than a bigger daycare. I don't remember exactly what I said, but at one point he said to me, "Oh, she'll be held here more than you think." His words were so true. On more than one occasion when I picked her up, Mrs. Gail would tell me he had gotten in trouble for holding her all day. Mrs. Gail said, "I told him he's going to be in trouble because I can't hold her all day next week when he goes out of town."

It was clear early on that Mr. John was her buddy.

And here she is with Julie. Until Julie started college, whenever Mrs. Gail was sick or had to be out for some reason, Julie stepped right in and took care of Sara Madalin. She fed her, changed her diaper, even napped with her if I remember correctly. Especially in the early days. I remember coming to pick up Sara Madalin and Mrs. Gail having to go get her from Julie's room where she was napping on Julie's bed.

I didn't look at these pictures until I started uploading them tonight from the camera. And when I saw this photo I just cried. It is clear that Mrs. Gail loves our little girl. Even when she's been a little "challenging" to love. Ha.

Noah, Sara Madalin and baby Avery.

And of course, Scout had to be included in the photos too. Sara Madalin has always loved animals and Scout was one of the first dogs outside our home that she had a chance to be around.

When she first found her voice, she would talk to Scout. When Scout would bark, Sara Madalin would talk right back.

And Sara Madalin's first "crush", Jeffery. Look at that grin on her face.

During the time that Sara Madalin was teething and having so many ear infections, she cried a lot. She was just a miserable baby for a few months. I came in one day and Mrs. Gail told me that Jeffery was the only one who could make her smile. And at times when I'd come to pick her up, if he had her, she wouldn't want to come to me.

Mrs. Gail and I both cried when I picked up Sara Madalin today. I just don't like good-byes. I don't like when things end. But I have to keep reminding myself that sometimes endings are best. They are healthy. And they are just part of life. There are going to be many more endings, or "lasts" in our future. And this is all part of what I prayed for all those years. My prayers weren't just for a baby, or for that baby to remain a baby. My prayers were that we would be parents. I'm learning quickly that parenting has very little do with bottles, diapers, and smocked dresses. Parenting is emotional. It's painful at times. It's downright frustrating at others.

But it is so worth it to see her grow. To hear her start putting words together to mean something. To see her remember a place she's been or a person she's seen before. To see her eyes as she learns and absorbs something new. It's worth every tear and frustration - on her part and mine.

My prayer was to be a mommy. But God knew my desire was to be a parent. Today was just another part of that desire becoming reality.

Thank you Mrs. Gail, Mr. John, Julie, and Jeffery for being such a HUGE part of our Sugar's life this past year and a half.

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The Glenn Gang said...

So very sweet! How great to have a place that you have trusted and SM has been loved. Wonder what they will do with all the free time next week? They might get to sit down! :-)

Paige said...

Great photos! What a blessing Ms. Gail and her family have been to you and your family. I love the idea of leaving the camera during the day to capture Sara Madalin's sweet memories with this family.

Have a great weekend!

Laura said...

I don't think there is ANY doubt that your little girl was LOVED!!!

And I absolutely LOVE what you said about wanting to be a Mommy, but God making you a parent. So true, my friend!

Have a GREAT and WARM weekend!!

Gail said...

Dear Malinda, thank you for the wonderful post. We have indeed loved Sara Madalin just as though she belonged to us, too. I hope things went well today for her.(and you) I haven't sat down much more than normal today, but it sure is strange not to have her napping in my room while I work on Jeffrey's school. You don't have to post this, I just wanted to say thanks. I'm looking forward to a post about today at FBC.

Lynn said...

SM favors Reagan soo much in the picture where she is sitting on the floor with Noah and baby Avery. She is growing up toooo fast. Love ya.