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Thursday, March 10, 2011

My kiddos...

I sat across from him tonight at the dinner table while he tried everything in his power to get me to do an impression of a chameleon lizard. He told me that this type of lizard "points one eye up, and one eye down." I told him that this would be very difficult for a normal human being to do. His response? "No it's not". Then this 5 year old did his best impression.

She just scarfed her chocolate cupcake down, in typical 7-year-old-insulin-dependent-diabetic-starving-for-sugar fashion, and bluntly reassured him that what he thought he was doing, he was in fact, not doing. Just what a big sister is good at.

This, of course, crushed him and made him cry. He wanted so badly in that moment to be a good chameleon impersonator, but she crushed his dream. So I told him that he is the best lizard that ever lived, and made her apologize even though her observation was correct. He dried his tears, accepted her apology, and then challenged her to a game of Toy Story Memory. She accepted.

In this moment, I realized that times like these, of me helping to resolve conflict between brother and sister are soon to be over as they make their way to a new home, in a new city and new state. Seven years of memories flash before me, and it makes me emotional. I'm their favorite "babysitter", although I prefer to use the word "nanny". I have watched them grow up. I have taken care of them. I was there to pick them up from their first day of school. I was there when she was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes, and we learned together the scary highs and lows of blood sugar levels. I went to the hospital on the day he was born, and marveled at the miracle before me. I have disciplined, comforted, entertained, and loved them, and I know that by having the opportunity to do so, the past seven years with them has confirmed within myself how badly I want to be a mother.

We've been through a lot together. All these years have made for some tough times, but we have been able to learn together. It's been quite the experience for myself, and for them as well. I've learned how to be patient, and I've grown to appreciate the beauty behind their imaginations and playful spirits. I can't count the number of times they've begged me to be the horse in their make-believe stories. Numerous times I tried to pawn them off on one another because I didn't feel like "neigh-ing" and crawling around on all fours with a child on my back. But they never let up, expressing how much it would mean to them if I just tried. They've helped me to realize the importance behind making them a priority, even if it just meant a few minutes of my time devoted to "just for pretend" games. They have learned to trust me. They already have a mommy and daddy who they adore, and I had to recognize, especially in the beginning, that it is difficult for them to be away from their parents. There was a time when they cried for what seemed like forever after their parents left for a night out. But with time, and consistency, they allowed me to wipe away the tears and help them gear up for Nerf gun wars (with the help of my husband), and endless rounds of hide-and-go-seek. And I'll never forget when they began to tell me they loved me. Their walls came down, and they opened themselves up to me. They began to trust me with their feelings, their little tiny secrets, their dreams, and even their lives. A day came when mommy and daddy weren't always available, but I was. And they were okay with that. After their "Momma" of course, I was the next best thing.

What began as a simple way for me to earn a few dollars on the weekends when I was in high school, has become a part of my everyday life. It has become so much more than just a job to me, being their nanny. I don't know what the heck I'm going to do with myself after they're gone at the end of the month. To be honest, I cringe a little at the thought of a new "babysitter". I secretly hope she won't be very interesting, and that their time with her will be spent wishing they could be with me. I am tempted to make them pinky promise me that they will not love her. Although, despite my fears of them forgetting or not missing me, I know deep down, they will always remember. They are my kiddos, after all.


Tara said...

This is such a sweet post... No worries girl I am sure their new "babysitter" will not be anywhere near as fun as you :)

Fearfully. Wonderfully. said...

this post made me smile. A good one to save and let them read one day down the road.