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Thursday, May 5, 2016

Because, I am a big kid now

Friday, December 23, 2011

Declan was giddy with excitement last night. Surprisingly, it wasn't in anticipation of the rapidly approaching Christmas day, but focused on being able to go to daycare. He was unusually difficult to calm down, after jumping under his covers at bedtime.

"Yay! I can't wait," he exclaimed as he rattled his clenched fists in the air while sitting up in his bed. I laughed as I tucked him in and asked why tomorrow was so exciting for him.

"Because I get to go to daycare and daycare is easy peasy!" He rattled on without taking a breath, "When the little kids have to take a nap in the afternoon I get to go downstairs and play. I don't have to nap anymore because I am a big kid now!" he rattled his fists above his head this time.

I loved hearing it. Nothing has ever been more stressful to me than those mornings in years past when I had to take him to a daycare he didn't want to be at. Any parent will tell you there will be some of that, but I have never met one who wasn't familiar with the feeling of their stomach turning as they walked away from a crying child, regardless of how safe or loving the situation they were in really was.

Since coming to McCook I have been blessed with one loving environment after another for my little guy and have thankfully interacted with caregivers that I will feel indebted to for my entire life.

That includes the experience we have had at McCook elementary throughout this first half of Declan's kindergarten year.

I often speak of the love and empathy observed when watching the youngsters greet each other in the morning and hug their goodbyes in the afternoon. It is without a doubt priceless. I have not however told the entire story, in regard to my kindergarten experience thus far.

If you ever want to start your morning off on a good note, bundle up, get your coffee and take a stroll near the elementary just before 8 a.m.

I think you will find the smiling crossing guards that greet you, amidst the hustle and bustle traffic of children and parents, have something of a nostalgic feel to them. It's much like a Norman Rockwell scene, one that leaves you wishing you could wake up in it every morning. They always seem to have a smile to offer and I can think of no better way to start out my day.

The cheerful tone and smiles-a-plenty are actually commonplace throughout the school in general and I am in awe of the quality of teachers and staff we seem to have for our youngsters.

Amidst all of our daily bickering and seemingly meddlesome nature, as a society in general, I think that perhaps the best of who we really are shines through when we are mentoring our youth. Of course, I wouldn't have it any other way, either.

There is no amount of praise that would seem adequate to communicate the positive impact the McCook kindergarten program and local daycare providers have had on Declan over the last few years. To say it has been a blessing just doesn't seem like enough, even coming from one that, much like most of our readers, doesn't get to take a nap anymore, because I am a big kid now.

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Bruce Baker
Dinner with Declan