In many ways, it has not been a hard transition. The Lord had begun to show me very clearly during the winter of 2011 that I needed to begin thinking about downsizing. And, though I didn't embrace the idea at first, a series of events - both positive and negative - between March, 2011, and February, 2013, convinced me it was the right decision, with only its timing yet to be determined. And then, of course, that was confirmed when Anna, Leah, and Cora's mom finalized her choice to stay home. So, other than missing the little girls, I have complete peace about it and trust that God has good plans for me in this change.
Over the years, I cared for 19 children other than my own, including 10 who started with me as infants. All but four were teachers' kids - by design - because the daily and yearly schedule kept by teachers was easier for me to manage than if I'd cared for the children of people in other professions. And, since I am done now, I thought a little retrospective might be in order.
February, 2003 through November, 2004
I started with four children - four-year old Kaden and his toddler sister Mirren, who were here full-time, and two brothers, three-year old Blake and infant Aidan, who came in the mornings. Kaden stayed just a short time before enrolling in a special needs preschool program at a local school, and Mirren stayed only through early June, 2003. I kept Blake and Aidan the next school year and also took on two toddler girls, part-time Olivia and full-time Ella. Ella's family moved out of state in June, 2004, and Blake and Aidan moved to a new home in a neighboring town, making a different provider more convenient for their mom. So I had only Olivia and her baby brother, Luke, in the fall of 2004.
December, 2004 through April, 2006
I relished this time being "just mom," and would have continued with it forever.
May, 2006 through June, 2012
In the spring of 2006, when my girls were almost four and almost five, I interviewed with a number of families and settled on two children for a fall of 2006 re-launch - Hallie, who was almost five and became one of my girls' best friends, and Anna, who would be born in September and start coming to my home in November.
unusual circumstances led me to take on six-month old Tegen full-time in early May through mid-June and then to continue caring for him every Friday afternoon until he went to kindergarten in 2011. And another situation resulted in my taking on N. in January , 2007, when she was nine months old.
my tenure with M. ended in June, 2012, and I made a conscious choice at that time to avoid taking on any new families. I felt I'd entered a new era as a care provider for only Leah and her siblings.
July, 2012 through June, 2014
Once Anna had to leave for school, my girls and I really relished the thought of doting on Leah, who went to part-time status when her mom left her full-time position to be home for Anna in the afternoons. But in October, 2012, some friends from church found themselves in desperate need of part-time care for their infant daughter, Olivia. Since they were not teachers and since I knew Leah's mom was planning for at least one more baby, I committed to caring for Olivia until they found permanent care or through early June, 2013, whichever came first. I was tempted once I got to know Olivia to extend my services permanently, but God orchestrated events to make it clear that that was not His plan.