Of course it's Thanksgiving week and for some odd reason I've been doing a lot of thinking about daycare. Not you're everyday 6-6 daycare, but those that cater to parents who work at night. Lucy mentioned something about one a few months ago and ever since then images of the place have been swirling in my head like some nightmare alternate universe. It's funny the ways people torture themselves for no apparent reason. When I was kid I used to have a nightmare about my family being kidnapped by a band of Satan worshippers...it never ended well for anyone. The bad part of having such a vivid imagination is that sometimes the worlds you create aren't always filled with rainbows and cartoon characters.
For some reason I got it in my head that the 2nd shift daycare lay along my route home. Everything's dark now at 5:00 and the buildings tend to blend together like images from a Munch painting. I'd pass a not so familiar building and think "there they are". Those poor families dropping their kids off for the night. As I created this world filled with sleepy old widows quietly knitting afghans, I switch and begin the torture process. A buyout at the office doesn't go in my favor, the economy tanks leaving Lucy working two jobs...the only work I can get is at night. We have no choice but to send Fred to 2nd shift daycare. We play with him for a couple hours during the day, but we've got to sleep sometime. Never together at the same place at the same time we develop this continuous argument that travels from phone conversation to phone conversation. And then there's 2nd shift daycare. Dark, empty (not many kids go there at night), just a handful of people huddled together in a large auditorium. Maybe a college kid trying to pay their tuition, barely looking up from their pre-cal book. There are no cartoons on the tube at night so they sit and watch the same Barney video over and over and over till the kids go to sleep more from boredom than anything else. No fun is had. Nobody is excited to be there like the kids that flood the halls during the day. Nothing is learned except life is hard.
The best part is that in a flash it's over. The whole thing lasts a micro-second yet I'm left with a feeling of relief. My life is nothing like anything I could ever imagine. Daycare lasts from 8-5 and there's always time to play with Fred at the end of the day. The rolling argument with Lucy is all make believe and laughter is the soundtrack of my life. Everyday I give thanks for having been given this dream.