Sunday, June 23, 2013

Not a Mom. But I'll Hang Out with your Kids

I began my babysitting career as a mother's helper to a darling little one year old named Caleb. That is, I took care of Caleb while his mom worked from home. It was probably the best way for me to learn how to care for such a little guy. 
From there I moved on to looking after the kids of the couples in my parents' young marrieds Sunday School class. I cuddled with Aubrey and Georgia Mae, while the adults carved pumpkins or exchanged White Elephant Christmas gifts. 
I eventually took my talents to the Brubaker family. I loved my regular nights with Emily and Grace. We played board games, watched movies, and ate frozen pizza. They lived only a few miles from me and the convenience made for an enticing first real babysitting job. Combined with the evenings with the McAteer kids, I was rich for an 8th grader. 
We made cookies for the neighbors down the road when they first moved in. They turned out to be the McAteer family and they were wonderful. Kevin, Pamela, Kevin Jr (6), Amanda (4), and Christopher (2) were perfect. If I remember correctly I met them in the summer of 2006. Pamela battled leukemia and I treasured the evenings I relieved her and her husband from child duty in order to for them to spend date nights together. On February 17, 2007 Pamela McAteer lost her fight with cancer. She was 36 years old. I went to her visitation to say goodbye and to help take care of little Christopher. "Mommy" was embroidered on the inside of the casket and I hugged Mr. McAteer, telling him how much I wished I'd known her longer. He said to me "you still can through her kids. "I remember babysitting the kids for the first time since Pamela died. It was hard to be in her home with the knowledge that she wasn't ever returning. Christopher threw a fit at bedtime, screaming for "daddy put me down." I ended up crying by the end when he started calling for mommy. Amanda reacted differently, turning stony when bedtime came around. She asked me to stay out of her room and I saw her take a picture of her mom from her bedside table and look at it before going to bed. 
I hated moving away from both the Brubakers and the McAteers, but I made it a priority to see them both during my first trip back to North Carolina in 2009. The fact that the Brubaker girls wanted to have a sleepover with me made me feel like super babysitter. 
In Oklahoma, I found a new favored family in the Sauers. Gabriella and DJ played together like angels and I always felt like Jeanne, their mother, was actually interested in me as a person and not just as a caretaker for her children. Sadly, they've moved away to Pittsburgh, but I love keeping up with them on Facebook!
Those are the best kinds of families. The ones who encourage continued contact with their children. The ones who invite you to the violin recitals and 5th grade graduations. A friend told me I'd make a great mom. I vehemently disagree, but A Very Lucky Girl has always enjoyed time with the younger crowd every once in a while. 

2 comments:

  1. Taylor- you are easy to love! We feel so blessed to know you and so miss having you hang with the girls. You are a great role model and the girls would have been so blessed to have moved from babysitting charges to being mentored by you. You would have done an excellent job helping them navigate the teen years! Wish you were still close by :( I love that you want to see us when you are in town!

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  2. Taylor, I have always considered our family incredibly blessed to have you in our lives before you went to college. : ) You are an amazing person and the kids loved being with you! I am thrilled to be a part of your life through FB and wish you were here to help the kids as they grown into young adults. I agree with Karla that you would be a fantastic role model, helping the kids get through the awkward teen years. I miss visiting with you but am so happy to see you strong, heathy, graceful. Many blessing to you from us, along with big hugs and kisses from far away. xoxo

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