A quick google search just informed me that Saint Philomena, Saint Nicholas (aka Santa Claus), Saint Elizabeth Seton, and Saint Stylianos the Hermit are all patron saints of child-care. Clearly, there is a need for some folks to have this saint. Maybe every parent. Maybe every parent living far from extended family, at least. I think we may need to invent our own patron saint of child-care. In my household, we may start calling this Saint Sara-Maya-Ashley-Tranchina-Donna, after all the saints who have taken care of Sophie in her short life. We ought to make our own candles, because right now, we owe this saint thanks.
We’ve had some non-saints, already, too. If you’re a regular reader, you know that I was unhappy with Sophie’s preschool, then I found a new school that I love except for that new school’s hours: Soph’s new school closes at 2 pm. I work from home 3 days a week, so I can try to squeeze all my work in before 2pm on those days. But the other 2 days a week, especially because my work is 70 miles away, it is impossible for me to pick up Sophie when her school ends.
So we hired Ashley to pick up Sophie twice a week and watch her from 2-5 pm. I had looked on craigslist, asked every mom-friend for recommendations, and even posted a notice at our local community-college child-studies department, which got me a lot of phone calls from people who could not speak English. Then, in yoga class, Ashley asked me if I knew anyone looking for a part-time nanny. Ashley is an artist (and surfer), she is a friend, she is studying to be a Montessori teacher, and she is absolutely the ideal person to be a nanny. All my friends started hiring her, too, and Sophie’s fabulous new school liker her so much (just from encountering her at pick-up!) that they hired her as a substitute teacher. We felt lucky. Until Ashley got her dream-job as a full-time Montessori teacher.
For the last 2 weeks, we have been scrambling to find someone new to pick up Sophie, just twice a week, for just 6 hours. And we got lucky again. Donna, our absolutely favorite-est neighbor, the one whom Sophie is most delighted to see, is going to pick up Sophie. The only problem I foresee is that Sophie won’t want to leave Donna to return to us, because she never does, because Donna is that wonderful with kids.
Patron Saint of Child-Care, whoever you are, we give you thanks. And we also wonder how many more scrambles for good child-care we are going to have. Many, I believe: but I’m getting calmer about it, and maybe even good at it.