A Little Time Goes a Long Way

I know I’ve mentioned my daycare babies a time or two. But instead of making you search back in the archives to find it (because I couldn’t) I’ll just remind you. I used to work at a daycare when my kids were younger. It was a great way to make money and spend time with them and also, I knew they were being treated well when they weren’t with me.

As much as I say I don’t like kids and I don’t want any more ever, I was really good at my job. I was really good with the kids. And unlike in your own household, it was perfectly ok to have favorites.

One of my favorites was a quiet little girl who always seemed to get pushed around and left out because she wouldn’t speak up for herself. So of course, she became my little shadow. The daycare I worked at was more like a family so the rules that usually exist about not being able to hang out with the kids after hours didn’t really exist. And if it did, we ignored it. So this little girl and I became really close. She eventually quit coming to the daycare but we kept in touch. Then I stopped working at the daycare, but we still kept in touch.

When I met her she was 4 years old. She stayed at the daycare until she was about 7-ish. When she was about 8 or 9 she started spending a lot of time at my house on the weekends and then we would have spurts of lots of time together and lots of time apart for years. Until she turned 14.

Her life was tumultuous and she was unhappy at home. She felt like her mom didn’t care and I think her mom was maybe roughing her up. I don’t remember now, it’s been so long ago. Anyway, she ran away from home and ended up on my doorstep. I let her stay for a while and then I went to court to get temporary custody of her so she wouldn’t be considered a runaway and I wouldn’t be considered harboring a runaway. So she stayed with me for a while.  But she was 14 and didn’t like my structure either. She had a bunch of bad influencing friends and she wanted to be around them.

And so… she ran away again. She checked in with me once or twice over the last 4 years, but she pretty much remained on the run. Living from place to place with friends or people she met along the way. She turned 18 a few months ago and got back in touch with me after about 4 years. She texts me and asked if it was still my number. It hasn’t changed in about 10 years or so. So she told me it was her and she just wanted to let me know she was ok and she wanted to see me. We made plans to catch up soon.

She was doing great. She had gotten her GED and was working full time and getting ready to go to school. She was back at home part-time at her moms and the rest of the time living with her boyfriend.

She called me the other day to tell me that she is pregnant. She said she was scared and didn’t know what to do and said that she knew I would know what to tell her. We got together yesterday and just hung out and talked and got all caught up on life. We hung out for about 2 hours or so. I had picked her up and then we went and picked Mel up from his friend’s house and dropped him off at home. I gave her a copy of my parenting book and gave her a few suggestions of other books to check out. And then we went to a little Mexican restaurant and chilled for a bit.

When we got back in front of her house, before she got out of the car, she thanked me for always being there for her even when she wasn’t the most loveable. And then she thanked me for all my advice as if I had done something special by having a conversation with her. And then she told me that over the years, she always thought about the things I had told her before making a decision or after she made one she would think about me and that what I told her had been right. And I almost cried.

You never know when you are going to impact someone’s life and not even know it. I guess that’s why you should choose your words carefully. It was a nice reminder that even though she’s not my kiddo, I had a part in making her the person she is today. And as it stands, she’s turned out pretty well despite her little road bumps.

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