I have said before that I feel very blessed to have such good friends and neighbors. I truly mean that. Last night for Valentine's Day, my good friend Brenda watched my kids so Alfredo and I could go out. We'd watched her daughter all morning while she was in a class, but I still really appreciated her willingness to spend Valentine's at my house.
We have received a couple of plates of yummy cookies for Valentine's (thanks Aly & family, Julie/Brandon and our anonymous friend) and one friend mailed Valentine's cards to my kids which made their day (thanks Jaylynn and Jayda!). I am grateful for these small yet thoughtful deeds that helped make my kids so happy.
But I also want to express appreciation to those friends and neighbors who have been our babysitters over the past (nearly) six years since Michelle was born. I've always worked (although part time for 2 of the 6 years) and we have been fortunate to have wonderful people care for our children.
When Michelle was a newborn, Alfredo and I arranged our schedules such that Michelle only went to a babysitter 2 or 3 times per month. A wonderful lady named Alicia, Alfredo's friend's mother, watched Michelle.
When Michelle was about 15 months old, Aly watched her for about 4 or 5 months. Michelle loved playing with Annie and Max. I enjoyed talking to Aly about reading and raising kids and other topics.
Then when family circumstances made it impossible for Aly to watch Michelle anymore, our neighbor Bernadina watched Michelle (and then newborn Ella) for about a year. Again, Michelle made great friends, Jenni and Francisco. I think probably having these older kids to play with (Jenni, Francisco and Annie) is probably part of the reason that Michelle is so comfortable with kids that are several years older and several years younger than her.
When Ella was about 5 months old, Janene began watching the girls. She watched them for more than 3 years and Sylas and Bryce became two of their closest friends. My girls learned so many things from Sy, Bryce and Nene. This was also how we met their wonderful preschool teacher, Brandi. Janene not only cared for them, but took them on many school field trips and took them to preschool.
Now, Michelle, of course, is in kindergarten all day. And in a sense, we've come full circle. Alicia is now watching Ella and Gabrielle. She speaks more Spanish than English and so Ella's Spanish is improving. Ella is able to play with her grandson Dante and Alicia is so kind to both girls.
I am so grateful that since I am not able to be home, that I have been blessed to find wonderful people to provide such good care to them. We have been so fortunate and these people have earned my eternal gratitude.