It was day two of Tori’s short life. We were alone in our hospital room, listening to the rain pounding on the window as we memorized the lines of each other’s faces. Ever so gently, I pulled her arm from the swaddling that engulfed her and counted her impossibly tiny fingers.
She seemed so small. So delicate. So ridiculously breakable.
As I stared down into her blue, blue eyes, I made her a promise.
I promised to keep her safe from the big bad world.
To protect her from the bad, the evil and the merely indifferent.
To surround her with goodness, with happiness and with light.
To help her to grow up to be strong, and confident, and sure.
To be there to share in her triumphs and take the sting out of her defeats.
To surround her with people who share my fierce devotion to her well-being.
To love her unconditionally with every beat of my heart.
I made her a promise.
And that’s why this search for a new daycare is breaking my heart.
How can I tell this face that she’ll have to spend her days in a space smaller than our family room at home?
How can I tell her that her time will be strictly regimented, that she can only sleep between 12 and 2, and only play outside for thirty minutes each day?
How can I tell her that her caregiver might let her sleep slumped over in her high chair, or step on her while passing through the room, or ignore her cries because five other children need her more?
How can I tell her that I chose a daycare that was simply “good enough?”