The majority of the first three years of my marriage were spent in this room, as well as a large portion of the five years following. It was a place of laughter, happiness, and play. I don’t think it was a favourite room those years so much as the best one suited for its purpose.
We purchased this house for my daycare. The finished basement, with its own access, was as large as the upper level. It was a really good size for the seven children I would have in my home each day. We had a room for stories and naps, a room for eating, crafts, and baking, a laundry room, bathroom, and this – the play room.
I have spent many contented hours in this room, tending to the needs of the children in my care. Later, it was my own foster children who played in this room. I enjoyed those years, and sometimes… sometimes I ache to go back to those days.
Today the house is quiet. It has been for years. While in my autism, I struggle with noise, I also miss it some days. It was my job. It was my identity, and I was good at it – maybe… I think.
Some days, I think I could go back to that life – although my son now calls the nap room his own. The food room has become a place of storage. The outside stairway to the basement has been overtaken by spiders. Our front yard play area has been given over to our pets. The house is too big for the three of us – but it has been filled with stuff.
I miss having children in my life.
After losing my children, how could I ask parents to trust me to care for theirs? I know that technically they weren’t my children… that is what the ministry says. My therapist says it wasn’t my failure – it is a broken system, and there was no way I could have won. She worked in it for years. She knows.
The ministry even encouraged me to go back to babysitting after they took my kids. How could they say I couldn’t have my three – yet encourage me to take on others?
I never did have the confidence to get my daycare license back after that, but I did babysit for a while. The children were happy. The parents were pleased with the care I gave to their little ones. But as they left one by one – because they were laid off… because they had shift work and got a nanny instead… because they were taking courses online at home and didn’t need me anymore – I did not seek out more.
I moved on to other work, and never got my confidence back in working with the children… but I miss them.
My adult son lives in the basement now. He likes the quiet. He doesn’t like children – they are loud and unpredictable, he says. He doesn’t want me to babysit, and I don’t want him to leave.
It was a dream, but that dream is gone.
I spend a lot of my time in this room, these days. It is very quiet. My dog likes to visit me in here; sometimes my son does as well.
These days the room is full of plants, and books. I spend a lot of my time writing in here. I like to write. The house is too big for me – but I like this room. I would put a wood stove in here. I might change the carpets. I like this room, though; it is a good room for remembering.