I have said it before, I'm saying it now, and I will probably say it 1,000 more times on this site...but that still won't be enought to express how grateful Matt and I are for the amazing people that Charlotte brought into our lives. Just last week we were again reminded of this fact when we came home and found a package from South Dakota sitting on our doorstep - a package from Charlotte's old daycare.
I was blessed to be able to stay home with Charlotte for 14 weeks (including the 4 she spent in the hospital) before I had to head back to work. Because of her heart condition, and knowing that daycare centers are crawling with germs, Matt and I started the search for a nanny to watch Charlotte in our home. Wow...let me tell you...finding a nanny in Sioux Falls, SD was interesting. We had one girl who used us as a negotiating tool to get better pay from another family, a biker lady who smelled like she lived in an ashtray, and another who wanted us to pay her a CEO's salary! I was beyond frustrated when one day I remembered that a co-worker of mine had mentioned that her kid's old daycare might have openings. I quickly sent her a message and before we knew it, we were going to meet Rich and Sylvia Dorsett.
I was terrified to leave Charlotte for her first day of daycare. Yes, there was the "normal" sadness that I'm sure any of you who have dropped off children for the first time know, but there were also fears related to her health. There were a million different concerns going through my head that day...but she did great. She loved them. She loved the kids. She even loved their little Yorkies! And most importantly....they loved her right back.
I have so many memories of our time with the Dorsetts. The "I love you's" that she got from her buddy Spencer. The arts and crafts projects that lined the walls of their basement (and are now tucked away in our cedar chest for safe keeping). The perfect little pig tails that would be in Charlotte's hair when I picked her up at the end of the day. The smiles that she would give Rich in the morning when I dropped her off. The little laminated photos that Sylvia would send home with us from time to time.
Having to call them on May 31, 2011, to let them know that I wouldn't be bringing Charlotte after her appointment as planned. Sobbing on the phone as I tried to tell them that our precious little girl was gone. Gulp. Forcing myself to go back to their home a few weeks later for some much needed hugs and to pick up her belongings. I still haven't unpacked that bag.
Last week I found myself sitting in the middle of our living room floor opening a package from Rich and Sylvia. As I removed its contents I found a card filled with kind words, a blanket for Mr. Harrison, a necklace for myself...and a perfect box covered with butterflies. I removed the lid from that box and tears instantly started pouring down my face as I realized that inside was a scrapbook. A scrapbook filled with memories of Charlotte's time with the Dorsetts. Some pictures I had seen, others were brand new. Each was accompanied with a handwritten caption.
I haven't cried that hard in a long time.
Thank you Rich and Sylvia for loving our little girl (and her mom and dad!) like you did and for taking such amazing care of her. I know that there will forever and always be a sweet angel watching over you both, as well as the other kiddos that you welcome into your home.