|Other people's children|
Have you heard the saying, “live and learn?” Well, as I continue to live, I continue to learn. Five years ago I babysat my nieces for an entire week. At that time they were six and eleven years old and I let them get away with far more than they would have at home (click here for that story).
Recently, I was again called to pinch hit and care for my nieces, this time it was only overnight. Now at ages 11 and 17 years, the girls are pretty self-sufficient. I just had to get them from their home (30 minutes away) to my house. Simple enough, right? Hmmm. It’s a matter of perspective.
To say I hit a couple of roadblocks would be putting it mildly. I picked up my younger niece early evening and we hung out together for a while. My older niece went to a concert and would be picked up later that night.
Later meant after my self-imposed bedtime. So off I trekked after my bedtime, to a location where a gazillion teens would be, along with loud music. My first speed bump was when I missed my exit on the freeway. I went to the next exit and tried to go around and get right back onto the freeway…the ramp was closed.
The self-talk began – “ok Ang, you can do this. Follow the path toward downtown.” It wasn’t long before my cell phone rang. It was my seventeen-year-old niece asking if I was almost there. The concert had ended and she was in the car with her friend waiting to meet me.
It was only another ten minutes before I reached the area where the concert was held. I knew I was there because there were police directing traffic, cars packed in a gas station and music blaring from cars.
Since everyone had disbursed from the concert location, I had to find a place to meet my niece. I pulled into an IHop restaurant, it looked like a safe place. It was a family restaurant and not many cars in the parking lot that time of night. I parked there a few minutes and waited. My other niece was fast asleep in the backseat.
Suddenly, my next speed bump approached. It was in the shape of a plain clothed security guard with a flashlight. He shined his light in the backseat and then in my eyes as he said, “Ma’am are you dining in?” he knew I wasn’t there to eat, but I guess he had to ask anyway.
“No, I’m waiting to pick up my niece.” I squinted into the light.
“I can’t let you stay here.”
I said ok, but took my time preparing to leave. There was another vehicle pulling out of a parking spot. I let them go ahead of me, just to buy a little time. I pulled off in search of another place to wait for my niece.
It was another ten minutes before I finally connected with my niece…in a crowded parking lot with cars pulling in and out. And teenagers everywhere. But it was okay, my mission was almost complete.
Everyone was securely strapped in their seatbelts and we made the uneventful trip back to my house. Until… we were within the last ten minutes of home. I felt like the sandman had sprinkled fairy dust in my eyes. I was getting sleepy.
At least I had a backup licensed driver, my niece. I looked over at the passenger seat and she asleep with her head hanging over near the passenger window. No help there. I turned the music up, rolled my window down. Just a few more traffic lights and I would be home.
As I continue to live, I continue to learn. Caring for other people’s children can require patience. Be sure you have enough rest before you tackle the experience.
What has been your experience caring for other people’s children?