Saturday, January 28, 2006

Foster Babysitting

We have this weekend off from volunteering at the Humane Society. However, a lady we know from church and her two teenage boys (yeesh) are the recipient of a Habitat for Humanity house, and this is move-in weekend. Last night we began helping them move their stuff to the new house while "Josie" was on a church youth group skiing trip. Today, "Josie" had an approved visit with her mother, and we went to help finish the move. The excitement started when we came home, a little tired but feeling great about helping this nice lady realize her dream for her kids.

The phone ring, and from the other room I heard one end of the conversation. It was quite clear to me from the get-go that "Josie" had had an epiphany of how she absolutely had to spend tonight. Of course, it was vastly different from what the approved plan had been.

As it turned out, a neighbor of her mother needed a babysitter for her 3-year-old tonight. "Josie" wanted to babysit. "Josie's" mother was very uneasy about the thing. The Wife and I didn't want to give her a ride home at midnight or later, and we're still uneasy about her spending a weekend night alone and unsupervised. Her decision-making skills are marginal (though I think improving) and we had all sorts of visions dancing in our heads with that boyfriend still lurking out there in the shadows.

There were several calls, much sulking, and the way it ends up is that there is now a 3-year-old sleeping in the trundle bed that usually is tucked under "Josie's" bed. Yes, that's right. We are currently foster-babysitting.

Oh, dear, how many questions this raises. Who is this mother? We never spoke with her. How can a mother let her 3-year-old spend the night in a house she's never visited that belongs to people she's never met? What is "Josie's" motivation in keeping on with the babysitting thing after it was clear she wouldn't get away with having friends over while doing it? What are our motivations for allowing it, and why are we enjoying it so much?

Doesn't matter much, I suppose. "Josie" is still under our thumb (good and tight), we have the pleasure of the company of a fascinating little girl for a night who looks absolutely dashing in a spaghetti-sauce facial, and it's more experience gained for all concerned...including a reminder to "Josie" about responsibility and the "joys" of motherhood. I do have to say the girl is really good with kids, though.

This is the life we've chosen for ourselves. Absolutely no regrets up to this point. Quite the opposite. These are the best days of our lives. Now I'm sure of it.


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