All working parents know the routine.
Those with on a "regular" work shift wake early Monday through Friday to enjoy at least a short time nurturing and caring for their children.
It may involve making bottles, changing diapers or battle over clothing selections, brushing teeth or breakfast - but these moments are precious.
Next, they'll hop in the car and transport their children to day care or preschool, not to see them again until early evening.
Meanwhile, our children are in the hands of a very trusted and respected group of individuals - child care providers and educators.
Most times these providers spend more time with our children on a work day than we do. They give our children love, attention and all of the fundamentals they require in this vulnerable stage of life. When providers are away from work they often dedicate their own time for additional training or preparation for special activities.
They do this because our child care providers are undoubtedly committed to ensuring our children have the skills to advance in school and become successful adults. Meanwhile they courageously deal with tantrums, spills, potty-training and illness - all with remarkable patience.
And perhaps the first thing thing they might tell you at the day's end is something special they shared with your child that day - how she likes a certain song or how he is learning to spell his name.
Our child care providers and educators have one of the toughest and most important jobs around. They are nothing short of remarkable.
Provider Appreciation Day is celebrated each year on the Friday before Mother's Day.
Please join us in thanking the dedicated child care providers and educators in Marshalltown and throughout Iowa for their hard work and commitment to our nation's most precious investment - our children.