I don’t like to say goodbye but when a child turns three years of age, they are no longer eligible for services through early intervention. Early intervention provides services to children who are at risk or who have been identified as having special needs. During my year at early intervention there are many goodbyes as children have birthdays and move on. It can be difficult to say farewell to a youngster who has captured a piece of your heart. It can also be difficult for the families who have formed bonds with the staff members.
One particular goodbye stands out. Abbie’s mom came the last day to the center and acknowledged that she didn’t want to say goodbye, but she did want to express her thanks to the staff for all that they had done for Abbie. Mom noted that Abbie could have stayed in day care all day, but that she had made arrangements so that Abbie could continue to come to play group twice a week for ninety minutes. I thought of some of the challenges Abbie’s mom had faced living in a shelter and trying to bring up her daughter. Everything can be a struggle in these circumstances and yet she had taken the extra step so that Abbie could remain in playgroup. Abbie’s mom said, “Everybody here cares for my daughter”. I was humbled by the gratitude of this struggling mother. I consider it a privilege to serve with a staff whose nurturing care is evidenced in their daily work.
Mary Beth O’Sullivan is an Ignatian Volunteer serving in New England at Bay Cove Early Intervention in Dorchester, Massachusetts. She was employed as a speech language pathologist in the Boston Public Schools for 34 years, where she never experienced a boring day. Mary Beth currently enjoys getting together with friends and family and chauffeuring her grand nephews and nieces to various activities.