After almost a two week absence from daycare and a cryptic text message from a parent last Thursday (advising me that her child would be 'done daycare' in two weeks with no details other than she would explain on Monday), I found out that this child would be leaving my daycare because the mom has been offered a new job and the family will be moving out of the province.
Now ... color me jaded, but I feel that the twelve words that she could have used to explain the reason this child was leaving daycare verses the ten words that she chose to utilize was a manipulative move. I am no fan of texting and I can fully understand abbreviating a message. But this was not necessary, from where I stand.
Withholding information when you are in a relationship which involves trust and honest interaction between adults sets off alarm bells in my mind.
I have had the feeling that I am not good enough or that I haven't met the standards that this parent expected for the better part of our daycare arrangement. I have tried on many occasions to open up the door and allow this parent to talk with me. Each attempt has been met with a raised eyebrow and indifference, leaving me to feel that I am right in my assumption. And now this?
From the moment that I read the text message that upended my world, I knew within my heart of hearts ... that this was a good thing. This parent needed to place her child within an environment where she felt secure and comfortable with her child care provider. I don't think it means that I am any less than I am, nor that the parent had unfounded concerns. We were simply not a good match. It happens. I do a better job when I feel that people trust me. Believe me, this parent left me feeling inadequate and insufficient in so many ways that I feel that I did half the job that I was capable of doing. I can live without that ...
I have been in relationships where information has been held back. When this happens, a person knows and feels this within the very core of their being. You begin to play a game where you attempt to talk your way through the unknowns in an attempt to explain another person's behaviour.
I suppose I do this on so many levels, in so many ways on a day-to-day basis, that it has become second nature to me. I try to understand what our cats are thinking because they cannot communicate verbally. I work with children all day and I am continually deciphering body language and broken English. When my own children 'go quiet', I try to figure out what could be fueling their feelings. Out of respect for their need for space and privacy, I don't want to push conversations that are not yet ready to unfold.
My last relationship ended (in part) because I chose to pursue the answers to the questions he always avoided answering. He never lied to me. He just didn't tell me what he didn't think I was ready (or needed) to hear. It is dishonesty on a whole new level.
I know that friendships and relationships evolve slowly and on a need-to-know-basis. Perhaps I am too much of an open book. I lay myself on the line when nurturing a relationship that invites a certain level of trust and openness to grow. When I feel someone holding back or withholding information, I become less of who I am. And I don't enjoy that sensation. Not one little bit.
On the other hand, I have some good news to offset the unsettled feeling that crept into my world!
I met a new daycare family yesterday. Nothing is official, but our meeting was positive and I was left with the feeling that 'Yes! I am in this business for all the right reasons'. The mom wants to confer with her husband and she promised to get back to me by this afternoon.
Do you know what makes me feel oh-so-good about the entire interview process?? This mom sent me an email last night to let me know why she didn't call me last night and she had one unanswered question. "I was just wondering if he (my 15 year old son) was ever left unsupervised with the children as I wouldn’t be
comfortable with this..." A perfectly honest and legitimate question. If she had felt uncomfortable asking me and simply decided not to bring her child here, I would have never known the reason why. Now I do.
This relationship is off to a good start. Asking the hard questions and being open to provide the answers in an open and honest discussion is the basis on which good, solid business arrangements and relationships begin.
Ask me a question ... I will tell you my truth. Just give me the opportunity to answer before you judge me. Is that too much to ask?