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.