Sunday, June 13, 2010

Honey Child

Little guys.
Wee ones.
My good friend Kayla is a nanny
And I could never understand what she found so satisfying about watching small children for hours on end. In the most basic sense, I was convinced that Kayla was a few cents short of a dollar.
Babies and small children just didn't amount to my idea of fun... at all.
Babies smell funny.
They cry, and puke, and they always seem to be sticky or slimey.
I'd had my fair share of taking care of other people's kids in my younger teenage years.
Time after time I'd watch 3 to 4 children at a time, in 5 to 6 hour blocks.
I spent countless evenings being climbed on, screamed at, and sneezed on.
By the end of the night I'd begin to doze off on the couch (after putting kids in their pajamas, brushing their teeth, reading a billion different bedtime stories, chasing naughty children who didn't want to go to sleep, and hauling them back to their beds) and wake, startled to kiddie's parents coming home. The drive home would be quiet, and mostly awkward. As we arrived at my house, Kiddie's parent would offer me six dollars for my services, secretly hoping i wouldn't take it, and just feel happy about the service I'd rendered.
I would accept or decline the money depending on how the night had gone over.
Most times I let them keep their measley six dollars.
But by the time I was fourteen I'd sworn off babysitting forever.

Don't get me wrong.
I don't hate babies, or their parents.
I'm just not a big fan of taking care of other people's kids.
I have two younger brothers and by the time I was 8, I was watching them while my parents and older siblings were gone.
Not to mention, my favorite cousin just happens to be eight years younger than me.
Considering the fact that, she was the girl cousin closest to me in age, when she was born I was made her unofficial babysitter.
We went through diapers and potty-training and all that jazz and I didn't mind at all.
She was a bit of a tyrant at the age of two, and many members of my extended family commended me for having so much patience with her.
But the truth is that I never really minded it.
Sure she had the tendency to be a little snot sometimes, but all I had to do was explain to her and she understood.
No biggie.
Now she's ten, and those days of drooly, sticky, smelliness are officially over.
But even when she was drooly, sticky, smelly and moody, I just didn't mind that much.

I figured my days of watching other people's kids were over.
Boy was I wrong.
Apparently a calling to Nursery was what was intended for me.
But I surprised myself by not being the least bit nervous about it.
All you do is play with kids, keep them from fighting with each other, get them to sit down for a five-minute lesson, feed them, then let them run around to some music.
Then they go home with mommy and daddy.

It took working with the little guys in Nursery to truly see them, and begin to understand their roles in my life.

These tiny humans are fragile.
They're just so breakable and more than that, they're almost completely dependent on everyone around them.
No, they're not always cute and cuddly.
There are times when they are drooly and dripping at the nose... ick
Other times they're just plain not happy and they scream and cry and blubber and kick
But they're just babies.
Sweet little miniatures.
Too happy to be depressed and too young to be jaded.
The world is their adventure.

It's also revealed a great deal to me about the worth of each person in this world.
Each tiny soul shines through the eyes of each and everyone of those babies.
Sometimes Hannah screams and squeals a lot and at a very high pitch, and no matter how many times I tell her she just doesn't seem to understand that we can't be so loud in church.
Sometimes Garren finds sport in stealing every toy that Zachary picks up and pretends not to hear me when I tell him to cut it out.
Sometimes Lyndon likes being in charge a little too much, and while trying to help get everyone calmed down and sitting at the table, she pushes someone over.
Sometimes Adam is literally jumping off the walls and knocking over chairs and not listening to a word I say.
Sometimes Lanie gets upset at me and kicks at me when I try to get near her.
Sometimes in spite of everything I try, Sawyer just keeps screaming and crying, wanting his mommy.

But then there are the times when before Hannah leaves to go home she hugs me real tight and says thank you.
Times when Garren tries to cheer up Zachary when he's sad and crying because he wants his mommy.
Times when Lyndon will take Maddie (who's not very good at walking) by the hand and help her to the table.
Times when Adam is happy and wants me to pick him up, and when I do he strokes my face with his soft little hand.
Times when Sawyer will help everyone take turns on the slide.
Times when Lanie will help everyone remember to be quiet when we say the prayer.
These are the times when I realize most that everyone has their days, but deep down we're all good.

Deep down, we're all just cute little kids who just want to help everyone be good.
Being with these kids every Sunday has helped me see everyone around me in a very different light.

A better light.

So I thank all my Nursery kids, for teaching me and showing me something new every time I see them.



NC girl said...

AW! Ruth that was so cute! haha I also think at times IM a few cent short of a dollar!

SuZeta said...

I LOVE nursery. Best idea ever. Still has been my all-time favorite calling. Those kids bring you back to the simplicity in life. No stress. The only thing they worry about it whether or not someone will let them have the same toy if they put it down and come back for it after snack. I adore them.
Love you seester

Megan said...

Aw Ruth :) Great post. I just found your blog! It's been FOREVER and a day since I've talked to you!! Do you still work for Jerry and Naomi ever? Yes this is Megan who worked with you at Sub Zero for like a month... haha.