A million years ago I used to be a teenager who loved to babysit. There were two little girls who were on my "favorites" list. The older of the sisters had ginger hair and freckles, while her little sister had dark hair and brown eyes. Until they moved away, I got to watch those two little girls grow up, and I loved it.
Now I have a teenager of my own who babysits. That older sister that I used to look after? She has two girls of her own and just happens to live not too far from me. Now my daughter babysits for her.
Hannah fell in love with little Lucie the moment she met her. She met her when she was drinking a bottle and was just learning to sit up. Now she's two and she is precocious, adorable, observant, and full of silliness and chatter! She also has a new baby sister at home, so the girls and I thought it would be fun to give her mom a break and have a day with Lucie.
...and built things.
We met some tiny new friends...
... and we snoozed away the afternoon with a soother and a stuffy under each arm.
And we danced. We swung our arms from side to side and did the toddler shuffle while bouncing up and down. We still remember how it's done.
I was the lucky one who got to lay down beside Lucie at nap time. We chatted quietly until her eyes got heavy and breathing got slow. I loved listening to her breathe and suck her pink soother. I watched her chubby hands gripping the necks of her stuffies and her little chest go up and down with each deep breath.
When she woke up the chatter began in earnest. There was so much to say and so much to see! I think those conversations used to exhaust me, but now they gave me life. As I was making supper, my own three girls were playing and chatting with sweet Lucie. I got to stand at my stove and just listen. It sounded beautiful. I could really hear what she was saying and take the time to savour the sound of her voice and her belly laughs. And for a moment, Lucie faded into the background and the questions in my head became louder...
Did I laugh loud and often enough when my girls laughed?
Did I spend too much time getting them to play on their own when they only wanted a companion?
Did I stop and savour their words, their blossoming vocabulary, and the sound of their footsteps following me from one room to another?
I hope so.
Oh, I hope so.
I wish I could do it again... just for a day...
A Monday with two year old Hannah. We'd sit and read book after book after book because she'd never tire of them. Then we'd do it all over again.
A Monday with two year old Ellie. We'd walk to the playground and I'd push her on the swing and hold her hand as she goes up the big big slide.
A Monday with two year old Sasha. We'd color deliberately and carefully, just the way she likes to. Page after page.
There'd be no hurry and I'd savour it all.
For now, I've got my days with fourteen year old Hannah and eleven year old Ellie and nine year old Sasha. We do the things that need to be done and go for bike-rides and sit side by side on the porch, each with our own book.
My Monday with Lucie reminded me that the good stuff happens on any given Monday, of any given week.
I hope I see it and hear it - all of it - more fully. Even the slamming doors and eye-rolls and exasperated frustration. That is the good stuff too.
It tells a story of its own.
I don't want to be in too big a hurry to turn the pages too quickly.