Goodbye Gymboree!

Or should I sing
“Hi ho, hi ho it’s time for me to go. Let’s clap our hands. Clap, clap, clap, clap. And stomp our feet. Stomp, stomp, stomp, stomp. And wave bye bye. Bye, bye! I’ll see ya next time! Hi, ho. Hi, ho. Hi, ho.”

It’s a goodbye in a sense of how we’ve known each other over the past 3+ years. I won’t be a stranger but I will no longer be an everyday presence. We may run into each other at the grocery store (Target to be specific, Target could hold a Gymboree mom’s reunion with the number of you I’ve run into recently) or even at church. Stop and say hi, update me on your family, give me hugs! I’ve jokingly said with a few of you I might just show up to Gymboree and give you each a baby to hold while I go crawl inside one of the tunnels to take a nap. I will definitely be popping in for classes, this time to join in with you and your kids, instead of as the teacher.

To all of my Gymboree families, past and present, thank you for allowing me to be a part of your child’s younger years. Thank you for letting me love on your kids when I longed for my very own that on some days stealing a hug or a high five from them was just what my heavy heart needed. Thank you for always making me feel appreciated. Gymboree is such a melting pot of different family dynamics- single parent households, international families, grandparents, working parents, stay at home moms, full time nannies- the one common factor that is shared by all is the love and investment of the child. It has been such a neat experience getting to know your families, in the many ways they come and in the many ways you parent. My phone is consumed with way too many Gymboree videos and pictures to count. I have a box exploding with cards and drawings (I save them all) reminders of how much you matter to me. You are who I will miss the most.

To my bosses, Ashley and Debbie, thank you for your unending support. I feel like Ashley saw me through infertility and Debbie saw me through this pregnancy. Ashley thank you for allowing me to take off of work for every fertility procedure, no questions asked. Thank you for being there on hard days after all the kids were gone and I would have a little cry. Thank you for letting me quit the baby class when I wasn’t in a good place to be around newborn babies and new mamas, find a teacher to take my place, and leave an hour early. Debbie thank you for letting me have the one and only desk chair to sit in. Thank you for letting me call in as often as I did when I had those intense second trimester headaches. Thank you for taking over a handful of my classes and allowing me to go down to working part time with Wednesday’s off to be able to make all of my appointments.

To my coworkers, I’ll be honest being your manager has been the biggest challenge while working at Gymboree. I’m not sure I’m even the best suited for it, but it was a job that needed to be filled when I stepped into it.  I tried my best, even though I would much rather be your friend, and with many of you we were able to find that balance and I am. I can’t say I will miss hearing your reasons for quitting, needing off, being late, or just not showing up. There is nothing like managing 18-26 year olds that will make you truly feel old- like needing to leave work to make a meet and greet with Flo Rida. Thank you for letting me boss you around. Thank you for reading (or pretending to) my, very bulleted, staff emails. For taking every bit of constructive criticism I gave during your training, or even when you thought you were done and I pulled you aside after your class with a few tips- remember I am always listening! Don’t ever forget to sing with a smile!

To Will, thank you for working so hard for our family that I’ve been allowed to work at Gymboree. A job where I get to sing and play and teach kids in such a creative environment each day where the uniform is yoga pants, a Gymboree tshirt, and playful socks. How fun that I work at a place where, “no shoes,” is a policy.

It was never my long term plan to stay at Gymboree for as long as I have, and I don’t think I would even be making this transition if it were not for being pregnant. I have stayed because of each of you. I have been the one to cheer you on as your child ages out of Gymboree and starts full time school, or when your family gets a job promotion and moves, or when you graduate college and leave to begin your career. And now I am the one saying, “goodbye,” moving on to the next chapter to stay at home with my babies and who knows what’s next! What I do know for sure is that I will always carry a little piece of Gymboree in my heart.