How I came to watch the fake child

I don't talk about fake child much on my blog for privacy reasons, but today I wanted to write about how babysitting came about because I believe God was watching out for me.

I never wanted to babysit children. My mother made the suggestion years ago when Katie through Matt were still little and I pooh-poohed it (and rolled my eyes and gagged and sighed and harumphed) because I had enough of little children, thankyouverymuch. But when the time came for me to contribute financially to our circumstances, it was the best out of some not-very-palatable options. Matt was still at home when I started babysitting for a different family, but that lasted only two years. The dad decided when their second baby was born that he would become primary caretaker and thus my services were no longer needed. I spent one last pre-school year with Matt (although he was in kindergarten) and braced myself for entering the workforce as a substitute lunchlady or noon supervisor or some other non-certified school staffperson. I had even filled out an application and was about to turn it in when I got a letter in the mail.

The letter wasn't actually for me. It was for my neighbor behind me. The mailman made a delivery error. I didn't know my neighbor very well, but I had chatted with her from time to time over the fence while she was gardening. I hadn't seen her lately or her boyfriend/husband (didn't even know their status). I kept the letter on the counter for a few days, wondering when a good time to deliver it would be.

The next Sunday (it was in early spring, one of the first warm days of the year), I saw her in her back yard sitting in a swinging bench with a baby. I didn't even know she had been pregnant. I grabbed the letter and went out to give it to her.

We got to chatting and she mentioned that her husband was in Iraq and she was supposed to go back to work in August but she didn't have a sitter lined up.


without thought, I offered my services.

Later on that day, I hemmed and hawed over my outburst of support. On one hand, I didn't want to babysit again, but on the other hand, I don't like leaving my house. I spent all summer wondering how to get out of the situation. I wondered too long and my neighbor called me up to ask if I really wanted the job. She mentioned the pay and suddenly all hemming and hawing disappeared. I took the job.

I'm still not overjoyed at having to babysit, but I've come a long way and have learned not to complain. I'm at home when my kids get home from school and I still have some freedom from a work schedule. My hours vary, and sometimes go late into the night, or start early in the morning (early for me), but I can take the fake child grocery shopping if I need to, or over to the church to practice the organ. She's a well-behaved child for me, too.

Next year will be my last year babysitting fake child, since it's her last year before she goes to kindergarten. I have been babysitting her for nearly four years. I don't look forward to going somewhere to work; it's been a blessing to work at home. That little mis-delivered letter has blessed my family in many ways and has helped me to earn much-needed money and still be at home where my children need me to be.


Jen said…
Wow, I didn't know the exact circumstances of your 2nd babysitting job, but that's definitely a sign that God was watching over you. As much as I sometimes dream about being back out in the workforce (mainly for social reasons), I think I would not like the possibility of not being home when the kids home from school and what not. Other than working in a school on the same schedule as your own children, I'd say babysitting is probably the best you can have in order to be with your children.

Don't forget that fake child also provides a play buddy for my girls when they visit, too. Chalk up another point for the "conveniences" of babysitting fake child.
Shantel said…
You would rock as a subsitute lunch lady!!!! You can be one at my house. Only it wouldn't be a sub thing, you would be IT. Oh I theres no money. and I might make you wear a
Wow, that's a cool story. Has her husband really been in Iraq for 4 years?!!? This will probably be no shock to you, but I would probably be a substitute lunch lady before a babysitter, but I'm glad it has worked out for you.
Jen, yes, that is another plus!

Shantel, no, the husband has not been overseas for those four years! That would be awful! But he is going back next week.

Steph, sadly sub lunchladies do not get as much as I get for babysitting. Money is a huge factor in what I do. My attitude was much the same (believe me, I was very much anti-babysitting as a career) but, in my case, I knew it was the right thing to do when the time came to make the choice. And the Lord has softened my heart.
froggybaby said…
That is a great post. It is always helpful to remember that these things are blessings. I do that ALL the time with my job. I have to remind myself that it was an answer to prayers and that I was given a strong confirmation that I should do it. I NEVER get strong confirmations.

On a more Jenni-like note - I LOVE THE NEW DRESS that your blog got.
Your post made me teary-eyed! I have been at home for 7 years (like you I tried to find ways to contribute financially and not do daycare!) I applied to a job on a whim because the $$ was so good (full time/government) and was offered the position just yesterday. I am so sad to not be home when the little guy gets off the bus. I loved staying home! I am a little geeked out about working for the government again but I will miss my slippers and lounge pants!!!