What can I say?
You were my “babysitter.” These days, you’d otherwise be known as my child care provider or home day care provider. But you weren’t just any child care provider, you were like a mom and a grandma rolled into one, or a great auntie who just happened to take care of me while my parents were at work. There was nothing provided at your home but care.
I’m pretty sure I started going to your house when I was a toddler. I was the first of three kids from my family to grow up in your care, and not one of us had a bad experience.
Dad brought me, or maybe it was mom. Oh, it didn’t even matter, because when we pulled in your driveway, it was like driving back home. I remember walking up the sidewalk to your house like it was yesterday. There was your door, all we had to do was open, no ringing of doorbells was needed at your house. We walked in and there you were, up just a few steps to the left, waiting to greet us the second we walked in. I took off my coat, hung it on one of the hooks to the right, hugged dad or mom, and up the stairs I went.
And while I was there? I recall nothing but pure enjoyment.
Down the long hall, we played in that back bedroom. Honestly, I don’t even know what we played, but we played for hours and it was a blast.
In the morning and after nap time, we watched a little TV in your living room. Captain Kangaroo, Sesame Street, Electric Company and Mr. Rogers were favorites at your house, especially Mr. Rogers, he was the best!
In-between times, you’d send us outside for some “fresh air.” We played on the swing set, built snowmen, picked bright yellow wild flowers and weeds from the field at the edge of your property, and engaged in a multitude of other fun outdoor adventures. We hung out on a big swing you set up half way between your house and the baseball field in the backyard. We must have talked about some pretty cool things on that swing, because I can still visualize it distinctly.
When it was lunch time, you served up the best homemade delights. Hamburger–tomato-cabbage casserole was one of my favorites as was pea soup. And my favorite snack of all time? Cold pancakes topped with peanut butter and jelly rolled up into snacking perfection! I’ve never tried making those myself, but not sure I want to. I know I’ll never get them quite right.
My day care friends were like a second family – Todd, Becky & Krista, Tanya & Melissa, Ryan & Reid, Amy & Aaron, and Ann & Joanie. They were all there at one point or another, and others, of course. Making a paper doll house with Ann was a highlight, and I’ll never forget the time Ann and I got the giggles so bad we couldn’t stop laughing no matter how hard we tried.
And your gem-of-a-husband, Derald? He was always around with his big smile, poking fun and teasing just enough to make us laugh in delight.
When I got older and went to school instead of your house every day, I was more than happy to be in your care on days off. We were teachers’ kids, but still made visits in the summer, and to this day, mom loves the occasional drop-by your house on her way through.
You loved us to pieces, tended to every need, and made our days fun, relaxing, and stimulating. When discipline was needed, you weren’t afraid to administer it. We respected you and loved you like no other. And maybe I missed my mom and dad, but I sure don’t remember it.
Thank you for being the absolute BEST babysitter I could have ever asked for,