My first business was babies.
I became a Red Cross Certified Baby Sitter around the age of 12, my dad whipped up some pink business cards cleverly titled “Lindsay’s Baby-Sitting” with our home number and a totally original slogan: safe, reliable childcare, and I was off to make my first hard-earned cashed. To ease me into the role that would pay a whopping $7 an hour, I practiced with my the children of my godparents: two twin boys.
I grew up with this duo — they had incomparable energy, and while I remember them always being very kind, they also always seemed extremely loud. My parents joked then (and still do now) that it was good practice for me to care for twin boys (I went on to babysit another pair of matching dudes a few years later), since the twin-generation hits me on both sides. And since my cousins are already finished birthing and have only had girls, it’s up to me to bring in the men.
Of course, the girly-girl is destined to have a house full of little guys running around. Fate’s funny.
Anyway – my very first babysitting gig was taking care of K and C, who wanted to play hide-and-seek in the dark and watch action flicks, resulting in one of the worse headaches of my life and snoring on the car ride home because they wore me out so badly. My mom found it humorous (so did my godmother) but I was nervous: what if I was a bad babysitting? Where would my boomin’ business go? My worrying pre-teen self anxiously awaited my next opportunity to care for the boys so I could prove myself as fun and responsible.
A few weeks later, I stayed in with them and they actually managed to fall asleep rather early. I munched on brownies and watched television, proud of my accomplishment and praying they didn’t wake up before their parents got home. The next few years would follow in this manner, I’d babysit and sometimes feel great about it, sometimes be exhausted, sometimes love the idea of kids, sometimes decide (at 15, no less) that I’d never have children. I guess not too much has changed — I’ll admit I still feel a little unwanted and unworthy of baby-love if I smile at some tot on the train and they burst into tears. What is it about that sound that rips my heart to shreds?
I hadn’t thought about children in the context of my own life for a while now, until Facebook popped up yesterday morning with some interesting news. One of those twin boys – the first child I ever babysat for – is engaged. He’s several years younger than me and he’s going to be gettin’ hitched before I figure out how to make a long-term relationship work. I’ve blogged for nearly a year, and doubt I’ve actually learned much of anything other than the fact that all courtships are different and must be treated as such.
Sensibility tells me that he’s in college, that he’s been with the broad for years, that he’s in the South, that his parents were married young, that he’s happy with a little home and a little church, and I’m still searching for so much more than that. I’m confident I’m nowhere close to meeting the man I’ll marry or even wanting to marry – but it’s so odd to think that the kid I babysat for has found true love before I have.
Talk about making a gal feel old.
Alright, fine – I’m not old. I know that much. I have more than enough time, and I’ve recently sincerely relaxed after realizing so many women have babies well over 35 and are fine. I don’t feel pressure to pair up, I don’t crave white lace as much as I desire my Friday night out with the girls, and if Mr. P is any indication of New York men, I think I’m going to search for transplants like me, instead. I’m happy -actually I’m quite smitten – with how my life is right now. I feel blessed to have this much success and love surrounding me constantly, and if I could capture these years in a ViewMaster to click-through in years to come, I’m sure I’d be a very joyous middle-aged woman.
But in a little girl voice, just like the one I had before I was old enough to drive, yet competent enough to care for twins, I have to whine about one thing immaturely (but rightfully so!): Hey Southerners! Stop getting married so young! It’s scaring me into becoming a Northerner, and I know ya’ll don’t want that, now!