A happy dance, energized and exultant one whoops it up
weak-kneed, shaky, teary with relief one sinks into a chair
I was the latter today.
6 years ago I stood in the shell of a decrepit old castle with a good few inches of bird (and other) poop on the floor and wondered if I (and others) must be mad to think children would one day play safely in this space.
It has been a long journey, with many setbacks and obstacles. This is the only project I actually walked out on in frustration and anger when things were not going in a direction that was respectiful of the children who would one day occupy the space. I believe I packed up my stuff, as the room looked on in silence, and said something like "I wouldn't put horses on that playground let alone children. When you decide to offer a space that is worthy of young children feel free to call me but this is not it".
Someone called it a "power play" but is was my moment of "enough".
These spaces are created for children and families and Educators but they are a piece of a much larger political and social agenda. It can be tough to navigate and as merely the tennant we can get sidelined and squeezed out. But we held the line for the children. We always do.
All those busy days, those days of discussions on flooring and lighting and the size of storage rooms, the height of windows and so much more (the discussion on the height to toilets is 15 emails long alone!)... they... are...over!
Today we had our final inspection in order to be granted a license to operate Gardens Children's Centre (notwithstanding the fact we have spent 50k, hired 9 staff and enrolled 40 families already) and we PASSED with flying colours.
And I sat down, weak-kneed and teary after I high-fived my colleague.
I am deeply grateful for all the people over all the years who stepped up to make this place the beauty it is today. If ever it took a village, this one took a city, a developer, a non-profit and a ton of hours of work and thought and commitment to get us over the finish line.
I have loved being in the castle for the last couple weeks (often on my own just taking it all in - reminiscing on the journey) but my time of start-up is coming to an end soon and I will be going back to my regular desk and the laughter, tears and energy of the smallest citizens will be the soundtrack here of living their lives alongside our excellent educators here.
My heart is full of gratitude and expectation for what this place represents for our community now and for decades to come. Our vision is unfolding again in a new place - "Changing the world by honouring childhood"
And now I need a kleenex and a coffee.
May the work we do, make the world we live in, a little more worthy of our children". Tom Hunter