It’s dangerous falling in love with other peoples’ children.
That’s the first thing I thought upon hearing that I was no longer going to be nannying for the little girl I had been caring for. My second thought was how wonderful it was that her mom was going to be able to spend more time at home with her and how great a blessing this would be for the both of them. But my first thought was the selfish one and my realization of how much I had come to love this little person.
I remember when it was too. When I no longer just enjoyed caring for this baby because I like babies and actually discovered that I loved this little person. And then I knew that there was no going back.
When I told one of my friends that I was really sad about this change she told me that I would find another little girl to watch. I wanted to tell her that this wasn’t like losing goldfish where you can replace it during the night so I wouldn’t notice — I was going to notice! But that seemed rude, so I just smiled and nodded.
I met a new little girl today who I will be nannying. She is sweet and happy with super big brown eyes. As I looked at her I felt a twinge of sadness that this meant I was not going to be spending my day with the last little girl I nannyed. I also told myself that I wasn’t going to fall in love this time. Not again.
That’s a good one. I can’t help falling in love with other peoples’ children. Give me enough time and it just happens. I said this time will be different. It probably won’t be for as long because I’ll graduate, and it won’t be as many hours a week. I know that’s a lie, but sometimes I get weary or scared.
I’m not that old and have loved a lot of little people already — none of them mine. There are some I still get to go back and visit. Two of my little buddies I watched while in college called me to wish me a happy birthday this year (with the help of their mom), which was the best gift of the day. But sometimes I wonder if it will get to be too much? If I give away little bits of my heart to all these beautiful little people, when will it get to be too hard?
Then I look at my desk. There is a paper cup sitting on it. It once held red flowers, and I let them dry for a bit, but now I just have the cup. On it is written “from 2 boys who love you.” It was left sitting on my bedside table after a less-than-pleasant break-up by the mom of the two little boys I was nannying at that time. I keep it because it reminds me that I am always loved, even if it doesn’t look just how I want it to at that moment. It reminds me that though love can be hard, there is always enough. It also reminds me, (I’m only being a little sarcastic here) of why I love children more than adults.
As much as I try and lie to myself, I know I will continue to fall in love with children who are not mine, and it will never become less dangerous. But love is dangerous anyways — anything that can change is scary. I am not so naive as to assume that loving my own children someday will be any less scary. That will come with different challenges. But loving other peoples’ children has been too much of a gift to not be willing to accept the hard parts. I have be blessed by parents who were willing to share their children with me — to share in laughter and news words, walks and snuggles, games and slobbery kisses — nothing I would have had or experienced without the gift of time with that child. Nothing I inherently earned or deserved — pure gift. The reward for loving things not mine.