I’m writing this from my sister’s house, about 10 miles away from where I live. She is working and needed someone to sit with her kids, and since my mom is otherwise engaged on Thursday nights, it fell to me to step in.
Her husband (gratefully, thankfully, after many many prayers and tries) is working in a neighboring state, so my sister is single parenting.
But I’m part of the village, so I spent 30 minutes stroking my 2 year-old niece’s hair and back as she screamed in her bed. I’m part of the village, so I sang her lullabies until she quieted, and stayed with her for 30 minutes until she fell asleep. I held her tiny hand and for a very brief moment, wondered what it would be like if I had one of my own. I’d like to think I would cherish needing to snuggle my own baby or toddler to sleep. At one point, my niece rolled over, eyes squinted shut, and I looked at her and asked if she was okay. She slowly and mischievously opened her eyes and started giggling. I laughed too, and then told her to go to sleep. She rolled back toward the wall and sighed, and about 5 minutes later, she was dreaming.
I’m part of the village, so when my 11 year-old nephew came home from Scouts, I said hello and gave him a hug even though he was sweaty. And he didn’t immediately let go, but he hugged me back for many seconds. Which in 11 year-old boy time is an eternity.
I’m part of the village, so I made the older kids put on their pajamas and brush their teeth and go to their rooms to read, so they could eventually fall asleep. But not before we talked about books and Calvin and Hobbes and loose teeth and shoes.
They will be leaving the metro area soon, the whole family, to start a new adventure, and when I think about it or look at their pictures, I am filled with sadness. So even though coming here meant no running tonight and not as much work done, I’m okay with that. Because pretty soon, they’ll be an eight-hour drive away.