This week the news was filled with the tragic story of Luna and Phoenix Rodriguez, the twin one-year olds who passed away after being left in a car on a hot summer day. As the mother of twins, I can remember mine toddling around together, playing, sleeping, eating. I remember very clearly their first birthday party – Luna and Phoenix recently celebrated theirs.
My heart breaks for these babies and for their family. Questions abound about how something like this can happen. In my opinion, parenting is the hardest thing we do. The love we have for our children is buffered by the panic we feel when we think we’re getting it all wrong, the mistakes we think we’re making.
The pressure of daily life gets to everyone. Worries about jobs, money, health all take a toll. People seem angrier, disconnected from friends and neighbors. Even when they do socialize, they can feel sad, alone, and unsupported.
My husband and I moved to Rockland when our twins were 15 months old. We had no family here, and knew no one. My youngest daughter arrived 10 months later. I felt isolated, stuck home with three children. I was lucky that my next door neighbor and I got to know one another. I relied on our family resource center coordinator and my children’s preschool teachers for support and advice –some of it unsolicited, mostly because I asked.
Not everyone feels comfortable asking – sharing one’s feelings or questions might seem embarrassing or perceived as a weakness. Child care providers and staff, family resources centers, and after-school program staff can play a huge role in supporting families. Everything from a parent-teacher conference, to a phone call, to a quick note home, to a smile at drop-off or pick-up can go a long way towards letting a parent or caregiver know someone is there for them, can lend an ear or a shoulder.
The staff here at Child Care Resources of Rockland can also help. We can help providers put processes and procedures into place to support families. We can help parents by talking through their situation to find the community resources they need. Reach out to us. Reach out to a neighbor. Someone will always listen and no one is alone. Your village is here for you.