Retiring after 42 Years as a Child Care Provider
Over 100 people came to celebrate the retirement of Carolyn Stevens from her child care business that she and her husband poured their hearts into for over 40 years. Carolyn’s Klassy Kids Child Care touched the lives of over 300 children throughout her career as they laughed, played, and learned together.
“I was so overwhelmed by the whole thing,” said Carolyn. “Even the parents of the very first baby I took care of nearly 42 years ago came.” A string of cars lined the streets to celebrate with some of the families she hadn’t seen in over 20 years. Many families waving signs, giving flowers and balloons, and a special visit by the Fire Department to express their gratitude.
When asked what her favorite memory of was, Carolyn exclaimed “After 40 years, how could I have a favorite memory? We really enjoyed all of it. The children are so funny. So smart. So interesting. It was the greatest experience and I never wanted it to end.”
But the memories were many. Carolyn loved all the activities that they did together from glow in the dark slime, to using the same erupting volcano for over 15 years, to watching the children test their climbing skills in the ‘world’s greatest climbing tree’. Carolyn remarked, “Where else can you work where you open the door and people run in to hug you?”
“It’s hard to think about retiring,” Carolyn continued. “Retiring means you retire from a job, but I never though of it as a job. I just loved it.” While Carolyn had set her sights on retiring in September of 2021, COVID-19 unfortunately sped up her decision to retire. Since the pandemic began, her center went through three negative but nerve-racking coronavirus tests. “We love the kids, but I can’t go through the winter like that. The possibility of COVID told me I had to retire.”
“I haven’t had an empty house in over 40 years,” Carolyn contemplated on how retirement will be an adjustment. “I do look forward to not getting up early in the morning!” Carolyn and her husband look forward to doing a lot of work around the house. And the best piece of advice that Carolyn could offer to child care providers just starting off in the business: “Don’t do it because you think it is easy, because it’s a lot of work. Let them give you love. Let them teach you and remember to laugh.”