I am struggling to put it into words what I felt last night, but that won’t stop me from trying. When I was in my early 20’s, I quit my first job out of college to go back to school. I knew I was on the hook for paying for this second degree and I was trying to find a job that would pay enough to support my living and tuition expenses and would work with my student schedule.
I applied to for a nannying position. I was told many, many people applied for this job. The pay was posted and it was very good. Fortunately, the mom was reading my email aloud and someone I went to college with was there and he heard her say my name. He recommended me and that got me the interview and the job was mine! I remember feeling embarrassed that I was going to have to tell people that I was babysitting for a job. My friends were beginning their careers, utilizing their degrees, and getting paid way more than our jobs in college paid us and I was…babysitting. I was a broke college student. (again)
The the job started. I was taking care of four boys from after school to bed time. I made them dinner, ran them around to sports, helped with homework, and read the youngest stories before bed. The first day I babysat, after I left, the mom asked the boys what they thought of me. These boys had had a few babysitters before me. The mom told me the youngest exclaimed, “Finally mom, you got me a babysitter that understands me!”
John and I had a special bond from the first day we met. This is a kid who has everything. He goes to a nice school, has a nice house, goes on nice trips. I was a college student (again) with little money, going to school full time and working full time, and I just did not have that much to give. But what I had, I gladly gave to him. That was my attention and love. John and I could laugh for hours about things. I find him hilarious and for some reason he finds me pretty funny too. But beyond our humor, John has this ability to just say the perfect things to me in times that I needed to hear it. I remember sometimes telling my sister that she wouldn’t believe what he said because it sounded like out of a movie. He is always defensive of me. I could tell a million different stories of the things he said or the ways he would defend me, but I will share my most favorite. His brothers were making fun of my old car and my old flip phone. I thought it was a good teaching opportunity so I was explaining (trying to at least) that material things were not that important to me. I told them my phone and car do what I need them to do, and so I am OK with them being old. I said “I just don’t really care about things like that” John sensing that I was defending myself a little bit chimes in with a definitive tone and looks his brothers in their faces and says “Yeah, she cares about BEING TAN!!!” I appreciated the back up, and also the really good laugh!
Bedtime was a special time because with three brothers he didn’t always get one on one time. So it was a time to spend some quality time, just the two of of us. He would pick a book or five for us to read together. 🙂 Although we had a special bond, sometimes as most kids would, he would wish it was his mom or dad tucking him in. I would try to comfort him. I would rub his back and tell him that I loved him.
Yesterday John, the boy I used to refer to as my favorite seven year old, turned 14. If we have been Facebook friends for awhile, you might remember weekly I would post hilarious quotes from my favorite 7, 8, 9 year old boy. For his birthday, he wanted to spend the night with my boys and I. I never knew what present to get a kid who has everything, so again I gave him what I had, my attention and love. We picked him up let him pick where we got dinner from and choose the activities of the night. To no surprise he picked Wii and I gave him a fair warning that just because it was his birthday I wasn’t going to let him win. I told John I would be back after I went upstairs to put my boys to bed. He said he wanted to come with. I put each boy in their crib. I put Luke in his crib first and as I was putting Lincoln in his crib, I see from the corner of my eye John rubbing Luke’s back and tell him that he loves him. And then he walked over to Lincoln and did the same thing.
I had to fight the tears back hard. Something about seeing a boy I once would tuck in and say goodnight and I love you to, doing the same with my boys was almost too much for my heart. Something about thinking back about taking a job that I was embarrassed about at first, and realizing now it was more than a “job.” Something about recognizing I didn’t have that much to give, but what I had, I gave, and that was enough. Something about reflecting reminds me that God knows what He is doing and encourages me to trust Him even in ambiguity.
Happiest of birthdays to my NOW favorite 14 year old boy!