Monday, December 21, 2009

All Growed Up

It’s funny how quickly time flies. It seems like just yesterday, I was playing afternoon nanny and weekend babysitter for several sweet-tempered little girls. I’d plan out crafts for us to do, I’d order pizza, I’d sing Bee Gees songs to them in the car on the way to piano practice. They were my surrogate little sisters. And despite the fact that they did things like pee in the water during bath time, turn the kitchen into a disaster that I had to clean, occasionally laugh when I tried to reprimand them, and later throw parties when I was in charge and their parents were out of town—they all turned out great.

These little girls—whose diapers I changed, tears I wiped, childhood stories I heard—all grew up. They went to school at USC, Notre Dame, Princeton, Stanford and Georgetown. These little girls who continually had spaghetti stains on their shirts and lumps in their ponytails have become educated fashionistas and successful career women.

These little girls all have boyfriends and husbands. One even has a baby.

And yesterday, I had all of them over to my house for holiday brunch. It’s funny now how they seem like the grown-ups and I’m still the 16-year old who’s trying to figure out her path. As they and their significant others sprawled around the nil space of my tiny apartment, I couldn’t help but think of how two of them are homeowners. They talked back and forth about recipes and I set off the smoke detector when the sugary topping of my French toast casserole bubbled over and burned up in the bottom of the oven. They played with the baby while I talked about my cats.

I can still see their toddler and elementary school faces when I look at them. Their laughs sound the same as they did in junior high and high school. But they are women now. All grown up, giving me advice.

It’s wonderful and strange all in the same. This must be what parenting feels like. Watching something grow and wondering if you had a hand in the way it turns out. I’d like to think maybe…just maybe…that my presence in their life had some tiny impact on who they are today. I know they had a huge impact on me.

16 comments:

SoMi's Nilsa said...

What a wonderful gathering. That must have been incredibly special. And given they all agreed to come to your place on the same day at the same time ... well, I'd say they all think pretty darn fondly of their babysitter. Incredible!

Jane Monepenny said...

I go through this a lot when I go home or when some kid I used to babysit friends me on Facebook. It makes me realize time hasn't stood still and I'm also no longer in college, but an "adult." The fact they all showed up, grew up to be good women is a huge indicator you set a good example.

brookem said...

there's no doubt in my mind that you have left a lasting impact on them. look at how they all came out to celebrate with you!

Mel Heth said...

Nilsa - I think they're fond of me now that I can't boss them around. ;) I really owe them a lot - if it weren't for knowing them, I might not have ever flown or gotten a job in advertising. They exposed me to a lot growing up!

Jane - It's weird to think we're adults, isn't it? I still don't think I'm quite ready to carry that status. :)

Brookem - It was very touching that they all made time to come hang out with me. They're such great girls - and it's so fun to be able to hang out with them (and drink with them :) now that we're all grown ups!

laura said...

sounds like a great day!!!!! I am sur eyou had a huge influence on them.

Anita said...

Aw Mel, that is so cute! And I'm POSITIVE you made just as big (if not more) of an impact in their lives.

Dingo said...

I think we have an influence on everyone meet. I think you had a definite influence in their growing up to be wonderful,productive, and loving people. Then again, if they'd grown up to be featured on America's Most Wanted, we'd blame you for that too.

justrun said...

That is such a weird feeling, isn't it? The first kids I babysat were a set of twins, boy and girl. I started watching them when I was only eleven (which seems crazy now, but I was really responsible then (moreso than my twenties, probably)). Now, they are both in college and home for winter break. And they're adults. With cars and drama and responsibility and it just trips me out because I just want to look at them and say "no, honey, you cannot pee in the toaster." It's so weird!

I am sure you left an impact on those young ladies, and I think it's so wonderful that you still have that relationship with them.

Mandy's Kidding said...

I feel this way about my former students.

*Sigh*

Anonymous said...

I think it is so special that you girls have all remained so close.
They are truly "gems" in your jewelry box. I too, loved seeing them the other day and the new roles they all live. It makes me feel old as I can remember them as infants and toddlers.
I think all of you are the recipients of the rewards of your
history and friendships.
Mom

blakspring said...

i feel ya. my sister is 13 years younger than me and watching her go from diapers to about to graduate college is indescribable. and now i ask her for advice instead of always watching out for her. it is a really good feeling.

Danielle said...

I agree with all of the comments. It is really neat that you are still close. I have a few like that.

Wow, that was awkward said...

Awesome. I am always fascinated about the difference between aging in years and in stages of life.

Blissed-Out Grandma said...

The fact that you still get together shows that you definitely have had an influence...what a cool thing!

[erin] said...

okay, your post made me teary to know the girls have come this far. and you absolutely influenced them at times in their lives when other kids with the same opportunities veer frighteningly off course. check out this article- it made me think of you. :) http://www.nytimes.com/2009/12/20/fashion/20kaling.html?_r=1&ref=fashion

Scribe said...

I absolutely loved this post. I feel the same way about some of the girls I "mentored" in my babysitting days. And I feel the same about how some of them seem more together than me, even though I have more than a few years on them.