As some of you already know, Jonathan started his first "school" when he was ten weeks old. It was a very difficult thing for me as a new mother to leave my tiny infant son with people I did not know. The ladies in the infant room were fantastic, however, and the adjustment ended up being a relatively easy one for me to make.
One of those ladies was Patrice Williams. She worked in the infant rooms on an "as needed" basis. She was full of love for those babies as well as for the parents. She was one of those people who always made you smile because she was always smiling. As Jonathan got older and we moved out of the infant room, she always stopped to talk to us in the hallway. Jonathan called her "Appletrice" because sometimes she would come into the one and, later, two year old rooms and do what he called "The Apple Dance."
I ran into two other parents at our new school this afternoon (all of us left the old program at the same time). One of them asked me if I knew Patrice. I said yes and was thinking he was going to tell me that she was going to be a teacher at our new school. Unfortunately, the news wasn't happy at all. I knew Patrice had health issues in the past as she'd taken at least one leave of absence during the time we were there. What I did not know is that she had serious heart problems. She suffered a heart attack two weeks ago and, on June 12, she died. She was only 41 years old and she left a 21 year old daughter and a 13 year old son.
The news broke my heart. Patrice was a wonderful person. She had so much love to give that she chose child care as her profession so she would have an outlet for it. She contributed in very positive ways to Jonathan's early months in the world, as I am sure she did for many other children as well. She stands out as one of the most positive experiences I had with daycare as a new mother. For that I am thankful and for that, at least for me, she will be sorely missed.
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