Today I attended a BBQ in celebration of the staff and families of Good Sam Child Care. After 31 years the hospital decided to shut down the child care center and they had their last day on Sept. 14. I don't know all the details that went into this decision, so I won't even pretend that I understand, but I like so many others in attendance are saddened by this turn of events. I haven't been an employee since I got pregnant with my second son, but it was a place that I always felt that I could return to if I ever need employment. I made many friends over the years, not just fellow employees but the kids and parents too. When referring to any of the families and kids I would always say, one of my parents or one of my kids, as though they belonged to me. Of course in a way they did, they same way I belonged to them.
As many will tell you it was more like bringing you child to be watched by family. The buildings were old houses and cottages that gave it a homey feel (when they weren't falling apart beneath us). Any parent will tell that it certainly wasn't the facility that kept them coming back. The staff was always welcoming, and did everything they could to help each child and family feel as though they belonged. Many families grew up in the center, starting at birth and continuing on with school age each summer, a rarity in the child care industry. The kids loved to come because they got to spend time with their favorite people all day.
I know the hospital probably plans to tear down these buildings and build a parking lot or some other expansion on the hospital, whatever fits their vision of being the best. I for one am grateful that I won't have to see that. I don't have to go by it everyday, like so many of the parents whose children have been displaced. I have the luxury of closing my eyes and still seeing it there. I can pretend that the center still exists and happy children and staff continue on doing their daily routine. That life continues on uninterrupted.