I’m breaking protocol for this column.
In past columns I have tried to write on subjects that would appeal to a broad audience, but this column is intended for one person, my wife.
After 11 years as a child care worker at a day care centre and more than 25 years as a lifeguard and pool supervisor with the City of Hamilton, my wife is retiring.
By the time she reads this column on Thursday night, she will have worked her final day.
Sit down and relax, Mrs. Jerred, you’ve earned it.
I may be biased, but my wife deserves some applause. She was an excellent day-care teacher and her kids are better for being under her care.
One of my wife’s best qualities is her ability to make people feel special about themselves.
I have seen this happen with our children, her friends and her family. And she did this on a daily basis with her kids.
When she first started at the centre, she would call each of her kids a “cutie patootie” whenever she tucked in their shirts, buttoned their coats and straightened their hair.
This inspired her personalized licence plate QTP2TY.
Most of all, she made a difference with her kids.
How do I know?
A few years ago, one of her first students returned to the centre to visit her.
He had been a handful. He craved attention and was prone to temper tantrums. He was a loner who didn’t know how to get along with the other children. But no matter how difficult he might be, my wife always set aside some time for him to show him that someone cared.
He returned in Grade 7 to say hello and let her know he was doing fine.
Most of all, he wanted to thank her for making him feel special at a time when he rarely felt that way.
She is also a very creative person and excelled at developing art projects and craft for her kids to complete.
She would scour the library, watch children’s television shows and even patrol craft shows looking for ideas.
She could pick up a craft, examine it and proclaim, “My kids could make that.”
And they often would.
Thanks to her many parents have have fridge magnets, paper weights and other knick knacks made by their kids either still proudly displayed in their homes and offices, or tucked away in a family chest.
She loved to take them on hikes. It didn’t matter whether it was fall, winter or spring, she would take them out on hikes into the nearby trails to explore nature.
In the playground, she was never one to sit idly by and watch the kids play. She joined them in whatever game they were playing.
Over the years, like in any career, she has experienced her ups and downs at the centre. They don’t pay daycare workers and teachers nearly enough for what they do and the benefits are almost non-existent. The parents, who often can’t believe their little angels could cause trouble, aren’t always supportive.
Still one constant remained. Her patience and dedication to her kids.
If you are reading this and one of your kids was under the care of Mrs. Jerred, then you were fortunate.
But all good things must come to an end, and it’s time for her to turn the page and move onto the next chapter of her life.
Happy retirement, dear.
Hamilton Community News Managing Editor Rod Jerred can be reached at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @HCN_editor.