Exhaustion. That is the only word I could think of to explain how I felt walking into my Granny’s house that night.
The day had begun bright and early, with an interior paint job in West Toledo. My next job took me to Sylvania around 11, helping my cousin’s friend move furniture out of their grandmother’s house. It was there, over a quick lunch break, I stepped outside to call my own grandmother.
Granny’s been my saving grace since Micah was born and his mom left us. She opened her home to us and also began taking care of my now one-year-old son. Honestly, I don’t know what I’d have done without her.
“How’s my little man, Granny?” I asked over the phone while pacing back and forth on the sidewalk.
“Oh, he’s behavin’ fine today. We had breakfast, walked to the park and are just about to start lunch before I put him down for his nap.” She brightly responded.
“That’s great, Granny.” Pausing, I then gently asked the other question that had weighed on my mind all morning, “How are YOU doing?”
It’s hard to turn a blind eye to my Granny’s age. I’ve noticed how time has taken its toll on her. I’ve observed her slowing pace and increased exhaustion at the end of each day after hours of trying to keep up with Micah. Working odd jobs around Toledo had made for unsteady and inconsistent work. With Micah’s mom gone, Granny was the only one I could depend on to provide care for Micah while I did my best to find a paycheck.
“I knew Granny loved my son, but lovin’ him and keeping up with him are two separate things.”
I ended the call after I had been assured they were both ok. Wrapping up job #2, I hit the road for Maumee, where I was scheduled to cut down tree limbs, before heading back to West Toledo to finish the interior paint job I had started in the morning.
By the time I got home, it was 9 p.m. Granny had fed, bathed and put to bed my little man. Tired after a long day’s work, I peeked into my son’s room. Micah quietly layed wide awake in his crib. Granny, on the other hand, was fast asleep in her recliner, the week’s TV Guide sprawled across her lap.
I loved that Granny was there for Micah all day, but I could tell by looking around me that it hadn’t been an easy day for her. It was in that moment I decided I needed to start looking for a different childcare solution for Micah…
The next day my first job wasn’t scheduled until mid morning. Walking into the living room I was relieved to see it empty–sometime in the middle of the night Granny had found her way to the comfort of her bed. Likewise, Micah was miraculously still sleeping.
I headed to the kitchen and picked up the phone. It was the perfect time to make a few calls for alternative childcare options. Yet, one-by-one, each call I made left me feeling more and more worried about the reality of my financial situation. In order to enroll Micah into a high-quality, early learning programs in the Toledo area, I would have to spend over half of my monthly income!
Defeat was beginning to feel inevitable as I slowly dialed the last number on the list: Toledo Day Nursery.
The woman I spoke with at Toledo Day Nursery listened to my concerns. With a soft and caring voice, she explained how their program could connect me to resources that could subsidize Micah’s daycare and early education needs, while I continued looking for more stable work.
I heard Granny’s voice from the distance: “Son, you up? I need some help reaching my medicine…”
Quickly, I wrapped up my conversation, schedule an appointment to begin the enrollment process and hung up the phone. Standing up I looked out the window at the sun peeking out over the horizon.
I heard the babbling of my son and knew he was awake. Smiling I looked away from the window and at the door leading towards Granny and Micah. Something told me I had found what I was looking for with Toledo Day Nursery.
“Coming Granny!” I called.
It was a new day and, for the first time in a long time, I felt a renewed sense of hope.