When I met you for the first time one year ago, I was in the throes of an enormous mental breakdown as I brought my youngest, Bobbin, to daycare for the first time.
You knew I was low; it was quite literally written across my face in streaks of tears, red eyes, and a puffy nose. But you don’t know that you’re one of the people who helped save my life.
I felt like I was getting “neglectful mother” stamped on my permanent record when I walked in there that day. Not because I was placing my child in to day care, but because my doctors and the government agreed I was so unwell that the public purse would pay for her to be cared for by someone else three days a week for six months. That it was in everyone’s best interests; hers, mine, even the taxpayers.
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As welcome as financial assistance is to a single income family in a low socio-economic area, qualifying for it under those circumstances was demoralising.
Parts of that time are a tear-stained blur to me, and others I can replay in my mind as if they happened yesterday. One of the things I do remember was that day care was a blessing, giving me time to attend appointments, go to therapy, and focus on recovery. I also clearly remember that you stood out among the staff. Not just to me, but to Bobbin. And I believe children are excellent judges of character.
You were kind, relaxed, and soothed my fears in a way that didn’t patronise. You swooped in, a smiling angel in hot pink, and made Bobbin feel safe and secure at a time when she really needed it. At a time when I couldn’t do it as well as I’d like to.