baby, baby!

I've been babysitting for the better part of 2/3 of my life {two save you some time and brain power, that would be 20 years}, and have watched my fair share if infants.  {Though, that makes me wonder . . . what is a "fair share" of infants . . . ?}  I've done overnight jobs, I've watched kids who were only a couple years younger than me, I have gone early in the morning before school, I was a nanny twice {once was with twin 22 month olds}, and I even lived with a family I babysat for while my house was being built.  I even have helped teach swimming to children, ages 0 to 12.

All of that being said, I have pretty solid child-watching experience.

Now, being the age I am, with all of many of my friends now being parents, I am not so much a babysitter as I am an "other people's kids" enjoy-er.

I have grown particularly close with my bestie, Christine, and her family.  I'm sure she would tell you the same thing--we're like family!

{Well, she'd probably give you a dorky look and say something stupid, but whatever.}

About a month ago, I got to "play mommy" to her son, Matthew, who is almost 9 months old {where did the time go?} and the apple to my eye, the cherry to my pie, the sun to my sky!  Just kidding about all of that, but I love that kid so much, it almost makes my heart hurt.

She and her husband got a rare weekend away, so I excitedly volunteered to got to have Matthew from Friday evening until Sunday evening.  It was awesome.

BUT IT WAS HARD.  And, that was with help.

Seriously, you guys?  Harder than my paid job.  Like, way, way harder.  I mean, I always have totally respected moms, whether they work outside the home or not, because I know deep my heart how difficult it must be, being a parent.  No, I do not know through experience.  I just know.

That being said, actually stepping into the role as Matthew's caretaker for longer than a couple of hours was such a different experience.  It changed my perception even more.

When imagining what it's like to be a parent, my mind doesn't linger on the day-to-day stuff, like . . . trying to get ready while he's crying, or having to run four errands and how much extra effort that is with a baby in tow, or trying to make plans around nap schedules, or honestly just getting something to eat.

My mind does think about the overall challenges of parenthood, like . . . teaching a child to be confident, and manners, and social skills, and most importantly, teaching him to love Jesus.

What I will say about my experiences with Matthew lately is:  I totally want this.  I definitely, beyond a shadow of a doubt, want to be a mom.

Sure, you could say, "Oh, Gayle, you just had him for two days, try two months or two years!"

I know.

I don't have kids, so maybe I am not entitled to an opinion.  All I know is, even though it wasn't the simplest thing in the world to do {taking care of sweet Matthew}, it was the most fulfilling thing I could imagine doing, if I were to have my own.  I feel that in my heart, too.

I don't know what God has in store for my life, but I do know that I am beyond blessed that I have friends who will "share" their sweet little ones with me.  I have a best friend who texts me pictures of Matthew's sweet face when I'm having a rough day {and inevitably makes me smile}.

So, to my mom friends:  You all rock.  I am honored to know you as my friends, and I am even more honored to know you as moms.  Seeing you with your kiddos, raising them to be amazing people, brings me more joy than I could ever express to you.
TODAY'S GRACE:  Moms.  'Nuff said.  :)

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