Soon after I was laid off last Friday, I was asked to house-sit for a (now former) coworker while he vacationed in California. The following day, as I was moving in boxes at my mom’s new place, I was asked to watch my best friend’s kids for the evening.
The boys, Liam, aged 3 and Collin, 6, adore me – and I must say I adore them, too. So I watched them Saturday evening and tucked them in. I played Rock Band for mosts of the evening with ’em. And when it was time for bed, the 6-year-old did his best stalling techniques he could.
“We always go to bed at 10:15!”, he said.
“Don’t even try that with me, Collin. I’m not buyin’ it.”
And finally, after I let Collin read If You Take A Mouse To The Movies and read them both The Sneetches, I tucked them both in their beds.
As I tucked Liam in, he said, “Do you know how big I wuv you?”
“How big do you love me, Liam?”
“Bigger than that postew ova dere.” He pointed to the wall, where a poster for a Monster Truck rally was displayed. I knew I was loved. He asked me how big I loved him, and I said I loved him bigger than the Arkansas Razorback Football poster on the wall behind his bed.
Since then, I’ve nannied for the boys for the past two days. Collin is off at school all day, and Liam constantly moves from the TV to the computer to wanting to play a game of Hide-N-Seek. I don’t think I’ve ever done this much kid-watching before; not even as a teenager.
But it’s a decent supplemental income, and it’s probably just as rewarding as my years as a journalist were.
I also discovered that taking care of kids really is a full-time job. I couldn’t even sit down to write a blog post without Liam asking me to make him lunch, play a game of Clue with him or tickle his feet.
Meanwhile, I’m enjoying the free time I have – hanging out with friends I haven’t seen in forever, chit-chatting with my friends at the bar, playing the Wii with my mom’s new next-door neighbors (a couple whose wedding I officiated last Halloween, the husband being a coworker of mine.)
But times are scary and uncertain. I found out that last week, when I went into the unemployment office, more people filed for unemployment than in October 1962.
On one hand, it’s good to know I’m not alone. On the other hand, it’s still kind of scary. But on the freakish-mutant third hand, I’m doing a lot of things I enjoy right now.
Now I’m sitting in a house that I’m taking care of for the weekend. As soon as I walked in the door, one of the dogs I’ll be seeing after greeted me with a big hug.
It felt like good karma manifesting itself.