In ten weeks, your life can change in ways you don't anticipate. You knew when you brought two little girls into your house to watch during the day, that you'd be changing diapers, feeding bottles, and playing dolls. You knew that teething babies require extra love and compassion when they are working so hard to push those teeth through, but extra compassion can be exhausting! You knew that a 2 1/2 year old without a nap can be a force to be reckoned with. You knew 10 weeks could feel really, really long.
What you didn't know was how much your joy could double and double again. That every time you went to open the door in the early morning hours, two little smiling faces would light up your world. You didn't realize how much your heart would expand when you saw your own "baby" flex a "big brother" muscle hidden below the surface. You couldn't have known this young boy who can barely tie his own shoes, would patiently sit and wiggle on little E's shoes and tenderly zip her coat so the two of them could go out to play.
You are amazed to discover that 4 kids getting along = much less noise than 2 kids fighting. You also loved that asking your own children to get something or do something for one of the girls, was not debated, ignored or met with an eye roll... it was just done.
In fact, just this last week I saw Nolan and three of his friends cheer and clap when L took first 3 then 5 steps unaccompanied last week. You would have thought their favorite hockey team was on tv and someone had scored for all the high fives going around. This group of boys that come to our house and wait for the bus usually only want to play tag outside, but lately they come in wanting to see how many more steps L would take.
These weeks weren't long at all. They were actually very short. The days flew by. The girls will be returning to their regular daycare provider next week. It was bittersweet as I packed up their things and prepared to hand them off. I kept a calm exterior while crumbling a bit on the inside. I will miss them, in all these ways, and other ways I haven't experienced yet.
I think its such a privilege when you are asked to care for someone's kids. I have a huge admiration for working moms and how hard it is to juggle it all. For a few weeks I joined the ranks, and now I am retired again. Waiting really, for that next adventure to come my way.