Babysitting in high school – it can go one of two ways. It can be a dream or an absolute nightmare. I had a few nightmare gigs in my day, but my regular gig? It was dreamy.
I babysat 2-3 days a week after school for a few hours and every other Saturday night for the same sweet family. I watched (or as we Southerners say, “kept”) 2 young girls for 3 solid years on this schedule and loved every second of it. It taught me patience and responsibility, but even more, gave me my first real glimpse into what it might actually mean to be a parent. My parents were and continue to be Awesome parents and role models (note the capital A), but it is impossible to see your own parents for who they are when they are right in front of you…and you are a lousy teenager. IMPOSSIBLE. But when you become a regular babysitter, and a surrogate family member in a lovely sorta way, your eyes can be opened. At least, mine were.
Love is in the notes that are left, the surprises that are prepared, and the chant that is provided every.single.night. That nightly chant, never discussed nor fought nor forgotten nor wavered, has stuck with me all of these years. So much that it was a topic of conversation with Scott while I was pregnant with Max. The love that this surrogate family member, I, witnessed being given to these children each and every time their parents left the house still gives me chills. I am happier than happy to have personalized a nightly chant for our son that we have presented nightly, since Max’s first night on earth and each and every night thereafter. A chant offering Max love, reassurance, and encouragement. One that I plan on offering until the nest has been left. By then, though, I hope that Max will hear our nightly chant in his head…on the college night when homesickness sets in, on the night before his first day at his first real job, on the night he plans to propose to the love of his life, and the night he and his wife find out that they will be becoming parents.
You’re strong, you’re smart, you’re handsome and we’re proud of you.
God loves you and we love you.
You’re the best little boy in the whole wide world.