After the previously mentioned dinner where I had the priceless moment with the person responsible for taking my job away, we continued on to the reason we had come back to our old town, the surprise party for Mrs. Z. Mrs. Z was the daycare lady who came to our rescue when nobody would and took our daughter in.
When our daughter was born, I started looking for daycares to take care of her when my wife's maternity leaved ended in three months. I quickly learned that I should have started when we first discovered that my wife was pregnant because daycares were full all over town and had waiting lists. After much calling, begging and pleading, I finally found someone who agreed to take my daughter but she left a lot to be desired. She didn't seem like someone you would trust with ten bucks much less your flesh and blood. But with no choice, we decided to give her a chance until we could find someone else. A week before my wife was to go back to work and the very day we were supposed to introduce our daughter to her, she called and said she wasn't doing daycare anymore. I had a week to find someone else when it took me a month of calling to locate her.
I started calling all the daycare providers around town pleading my case and again, I was rejected. Most wouldn't take care of three month babies or by law were restricted to only two and they already had two. Several recommended Mrs. Z when I asked for recommendations and so I called her one day. She said she already had one baby and wasn't really interested in two at one time. However, she told me that if I couldn't find someone else in a few days to give her a call back and she'd maybe reconsider.
Two days later I called back and she agreed to meet us and decide. We showed up to the meeting nervous as all get out because she truly was our only hope. It didn't help that in the middle of the interview our daughter had a huge poop that blew out of her diaper and left us with a mess that we had to clean up all the while pleasantly chatting with Mrs. Z and trying to put on a good impression. Fortunately the poop didn't phase Mrs. Z and she agreed to give our daughter a try for a week to see how things would go. Fortunately our daughter was easy to take care of and she agreed to take her full time. That began our five year relationship with Mrs. Z.
Eventually when our daughter began school, we had to take her out of Mrs. Z's daycare because the school bus wouldn't stop at her house. I either had to put our daughter in a commercial daycare or shuttle my daughter a dozen times a week while constantly excusing myself from my job. I chose the former. It was sad to leave Mrs. Z but I didn't have much of a choice.
So when we got the call to a surprise party for Mrs. Z, we were delighted to show up. Unfortunately, we were the ones surprised. Oh Mrs. Z was surprised and thrilled that we showed up and she got to meet our newest daughter but she surprised us with the news that she has terminal cancer of the bile ducts. She was diagnosed in January and told that 50% of people with her diagnosis die within six months and the other 50% die within a year. Her husband had just retired the year before and she had been flirting with retirement so that they could spend time traveling and now she could die at any moment and for sure before the end of the year. It kind of put a somber tone to the party.
I hope she is able to make peace with herself and everyone around her before she goes. I wouldn't wish that diagnosis on anybody, even the division president who took offence to my frankness and took my job away. It did get me thinking though that perhaps everything has a reason. When I lost my first job due to the tech bubble crash, I found an even better job and a girl whom I later married. When I quit my second job due to an alcoholic boss who was running the business into the ground, I found my last job which guaranteed my desired retirement plus some in nine short years of working there. Perhaps me opening my mouth and losing my job worked out for the best. Had I still been gainfully employed, I would be in the situation of trying to find a new daycare for two daughters, one who is still a baby and thus runs into the legal issues of how many a daycare can have at any given time. On top of this, I would have to do this while still working with Mrs. Z with a terminal disease and plans to continue running her daycare until she checks out or is unable to continue. Definitely a sticky situation, and one that would cause me untold amounts of stress.
So fortunately, I don't have to make those decisions or find a new daycare provider that I feel comfortable with for my daughters. Instead, I just have to pray for Mrs. Z and for a peaceful end to her disease. I will still have to explain to my oldest daughter Mrs. Z's death when the times comes and I'm sure that will break Little Abbey's heart as it will mine, but hopefully she beats the odds and that day is still many months yet to come.