Daycare by Angela Caldin

I’m back on daycare duty.

It’s quite a few years since I used to take my grandchildren to kindergarten and occasionally stay for a while to help with their activities and prepare the fruit for morning tea. It’s an even longer time since I took my own children to one playgroup or another and rushed off home to make the most of the freedom, until all too soon it was time to pick them up again. Not that I was anxious to get rid of them, but they needed the socialising and I needed the break.

Now I’m at it again. Speaking in a cheerful voice in an attempt to reassure that everything’s fine and a good time will be had by all. Guiding him gently through the door and towards the table where early arrivals are busy drawing or looking at books. Easing him into a seat next to someone he might know already and smiling, always smiling. Planting a kiss on his cheek and saying see you later, have a lovely time. Ignoring the flicker of anxiety round his eyes and making purposefully for the door. Don’t worry says the person in charge, he’ll be fine once you’ve gone. I hand over a cake bought at the local supermarket because it was his birthday at the weekend and I give her two candles, all I could find as I scrabbled in the birthday drawer.

Back home, I sit at my laptop and plough through a myriad of mundane tasks: paying bills, making medical appointments, moving money around to make it work better, finding information about the next stage in life and on and on until I look at the clock and realise it’s time to collect him.

He’s sitting next to Peter and they are doing a jigsaw together. It has big pieces and they are doing well. Letty sits by herself holding a doll which she’s sure is a real baby. Some of the others sit in a circle and bat a balloon to each other, concentrating hard. The helper shows me photos of him blowing out the candles on his cake while everyone sings happy birthday. He looks really content.

We are walking towards the door when Peter asks how old he is on this birthday. He’s 77 I tell him. Same age as me, says Peter.

We walk out past the sign which says this way to Dementia Daycare.

Let us know what you think

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: