|Photo by Tarkio Avalanche, Megan McAdams|
I'll never know for sure, but I suspect Phyllis and Dennis might have been giggling inside. Of course, Dennis doesn't really giggle per say. He chuckles rather, the kind of laugh that puts you to laughing too.
You see, Phyllis knows about new moms. She knows the tears will come. She knows most of us had other plans. Plans to stay home, make our kids lunch, walk them to the park and tuck them into our afternoon nap. As Phyllis knows, and many of you do too, those plans don't always come to fruition. Life happens and you realize that providing for your children may not mean play dates and morning cartoons, but instead means a career, a steady paycheck, insurance benefits and a warm and comfortable home to tuck them in at night. That first day, not only do you leave your baby, but you leave those plans behind. For many mommies, its the worst day of their new life as mothers.
I know well the first day back from a blissful maternity leave. I've pulled out of Phyllis' driveway now three times over the last 8 years. While it has never been easy, I've left each time in the confidence that my children are safe and loved in a home that I know well.
No interview was needed when we decided Phyllis would be our daycare provided. I guess you could say the interview had been conducted. The Martins door was always open when we were teenagers. It was prime territory on Friday and Saturday night, before basketball games and for Christmas movies during winter break. During those visits, the house was full of children many of whom are adults today. Phyllis managed it all....babies to teenagers...she showed each child love and patience and still managed to joke around with what I suspect were sometimes obnoxious crowd of Tarkio teens. When I called her for the first time to ask if Aaron could be "Phyllis kid" she said "Oh, I hoped that you would call." And I know she meant it.
This last Monday, many of our Phyllis kids got the chance to say thank you by presenting Phyllis with the Tarkio Community Betterment Employee of the Year Award. For 25 years, she has run a business.... that's commendable in itself. But more than that, she's been there for many, many children when their parents could not. She has been an integral part in raising confident, well-behaved, respectful (and potty trained) children in Tarkio and her contribution to this community deserves recognition.
I'm proud of my community for gathering each year and saying thank you to those that work so hard on its behalf. I'm grateful that I get to work each day to make this community a better place. I'm blessed that when I go to work each day, my children continue to receive the kind of love and care I wish I could be there to give them.
So thanks Tarkio for being the kind of town that says thank you. And thanks Phyllis for being the kind of gal that we all want to thank.