Wednesday, September 2, 2009

you think. you wink. you do a double blink. you close your eyes... and jump

I didn’t expect to be so fond of C1 and C2. I started watching them to assist their mom and to replenish what has disappeared from my college savings account. I didn’t expect to love the munchkins. Jesus said to, but when insults interrupt every conversation, sometimes you forget. (Jesus also said to not be surprised when the snubbing occurs, but those Scriptures sometimes fly out of my mind as well.)

We, C1+2 and I, met nine days ago, but experiencing intense vulnerability with another creates a sort of bond. The boys hit their daily low-point while we’re together. I am the first person they see after the long commute home after a relaxing seven hours in the public school system. Do you see where I’m going with this? Our eyes meet as they walk through the door: hunched, backpack covered shoulders; sad, hungry faces. Vulnerability. They couldn’t pick the definition out of 100, but it’s there.

We’ve connected. Yesterday, I drove down the street and saw a few scattered kids dilly-dallying to their houses. As I parked, I realized no one had waved to me because no one was left outside. Everyone already had their children, but the sidewalks in front of my house breathed silence.

I’ve never lost a child. Technically, I’ve never had a child to lose. In that moment, I threw my purse over my arm and clicked speed dial for my mother, a woman who, to my knowledge, never lost her kids. She calmly listened to me panic, as I nearly knocked down the closest neighbor’s door. No answer. I literally began running down the street; fear of great magnitude taking over. I couldn’t stop praying over what had happened to my little buddy. He wasn't half of my paycheck, but a crazy eight year old I loved.

A mom, loading her suburban, glanced up from her driveway and asked if I was C2’s babysitter. I cringed as pride kicked in to defend against the condescension floating my direction. I fought my ego as it whispered back, I actually arrived on time, but the bus showed up early. I’m not a horrible nanny; seriously, woman, stop looking at me like that. C2 stuck his head out of the lady's front door and grinned. “Hey Katie, I’m gonna play at T’s house today.”

They say the stress of motherhood and taking care of little ones uproots gray hair and extracts wrinkles. Mary Poppins must have had an excellent colorist.


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