Blink—And They're Grown

Parents, Families and Child Care

Goodbye, Hello


Parent Services welcomes a new team member and a new blogger, Tammi Ector Fisse!

As the newest member of the 4C team, I’m so excited to write for this blog. When I was told it was called “Blink–and They’re Grown”, the title really resonated with me, especially during this season of change in my family’s life. I’m ready to wear my “mommy heart” on my sleeve, and I hope that’s ok with readers because I believe there are other parents out there who can relate to and may even be encouraged by what I share.

Ever since my children were babies, they’ve attended the child care center where I was the administrator. In fact, I left the elementary education field to work in a child care center so that I could have them with me. This was essential to me because my plan was to stay home with them until the youngest started kindergarten.  But as we parents know, things don’t always work out as planned.

So the contingency plan. As a newly divorced mom, I had to return to work. Taking them with me softened the blow. In retrospect, my change of circumstances afforded me a rare double opportunity: to have my children with me in a program where I was the driving force in ensuring that it was a quality one. For two years we all went to school together every day. I not only considered myself fortunate, I’d say I was blessed.

When my children started kindergarten, walking the building and not seeing them in their respective classrooms took some getting used to. Though we all adjusted, I knew a season of our lives was drawing to a close. With both children at school all day, I told my husband that I’d like to be doing something where I could impact families on a greater scale by the time the next school year started.

And that’s exactly what’s happened. Three weeks ago I started my new position with 4C as a Family and Community Services Specialist. Other than the timing, things came together just as I’d hoped. I guess sometimes things do turn out as planned.

Along with changing jobs, schools and our child care arrangements, my son just turned six. On the night before his birthday, I tucked him in and told him, “The next time I see you, you’ll be six years old!”  My son threw his arms around my neck, laid his head on my shoulder and whispered, “I’ll miss you, Mommy.” Immediately, tears pooled in my eyes. It was as if he was saying, “My five-year-old self will miss you.”  It struck me that I would never have that precious five-year-old again. Wow. I kissed my five-year-old goodbye, went to my room and cried. The next morning, I woke that new little six-year-old person by singing “Happy Birthday to You”. What I wanted to say was, “Hello! And just who will you grow to be this year?”

Growth really does happen in a blink–in a flash. It just seems like yesterday that I was watching the doctor unwrap the umbilical cord not once, not twice, but three times from around his neck. And has it really been almost four years since I dropped him off in the toddler room on my first day as a center director? I never imagined seven months ago when I kept my tears in check as I told him goodbye on the first day of kindergarten that he would have another first day seven months later (with more barely concealed tears from me).

Whether on a first day of school, leaving a job where you’ve invested your heart and soul or any other change in situation, saying goodbye requires letting go. And that leaves an empty space. One that is waiting to be filled with new adventures, possibilities, opportunities–and growth!

So good to know that the amazing flip side of goodbye is hello.

– Tammi

5 thoughts on “Goodbye, Hello

  1. Tammi,

    This is just beautiful. I have tears in my eyes. You’ve so perfectly captured the conflicting emotions that come with every new and exciting development or stage in a child’s life.

    It’s so true that some days with young children seem to go slowly, but the months and years fly by. I am a nanny for two small children, and I have been working with this family since the oldest child, who is now five years old, was just under a year old.

    This morning when I arrived, the two year old and his Mom were looking at J.”s baby book together. So much growth and so many changes in such a short time! I moved cross country with this family, and have been present for, and involved at every turn in the older child’s life.

    S. just started Kindergarten this year, but I can remember the first visits as she started a half day preschool program two and a half years ago. Up until that time we had spent all of our days together.

    There I was sitting in the back of the room with her Mom and Dad as she participated in a group story time with nary a look back at us- she was so ready for the experience, yet WE all had tears welling in our eyes.

    When I first started caring for S., she was so very timid and cautious. She’d grown into such a capable, self confident little girl. The joy of knowing who she was, and the bittersweet of letting her go to grow into “just who she was

    • Dear Lisa,

      Thank you so much for your response and wearing your “nanny heart” on your sleeve. No matter our title as caregivers, be it mommy, nanny or teacher, watching little ones grow up evokes a lot of emotion. You captured it perfectly with “bittersweet”.

  2. Tammi, I haven’t had a chance to talk to you since you have made your new career move. I am so excited for you as I think this position is cookie-cutter made for you, especially at this point in your family’s journey.

    I am looking forward to reading more of your adventures in the days ahead and I hope that our paths will cross for future projects.


    • Dear Sandie,
      It was unexpected and wonderful to hear from you! You have been a part of my family’s journey, and I will never forget what you once said about experiencing on of my son’s hugs. I’m glad you’ll keep reading and definitely hope our paths will cross again soon.


  3. Tammi,
    I found you and what an honor it is to know you in your previous position as center director and I’m excited to read and follow you in your new journey. This position is so you and I can’t wait to read your posts. You had tears in my eyes to hear you talk about your son and how much he has grown. I can’t believe it has been 3 years already! I hope that this new position is everything you hoped it would be and more. God has a special plan for you 🙂