The boy who I babysat while I was in High School is twenty-four years old. Recently, I reunited with him and his brother. I heard my mom say to grownups, I remember you when you were a baby. I figured that would happen to me. His brother is twenty-six now.
I met them when they were nine and seven. I was fifteen. The first time I babysat them, their parents went to a late-night party, so they asked me to sleep over. These two were individuals. I could not believe the things that they were saying. Nothing was sacred, no word was off limit, all thoughts were public information. We played video games and watched TV while eating crazy treats with no real ingredients. I put them to sleep with some usual protest and delays but by the time I was fifteen I was a professional babysitter. I found company of children more pleasant than adults. If there was a child around, I was on the floor playing with them, crawling through mazes, eating imaginary foods.
I slept on the fold out couch in their living room that night. I heard stirring, it was morning for them but not for a High School teen. After the kids went to bed, I spent few hours talking on the phone or watching TV. I opened my eyes. The two brothers, sitting on the fireplace, staring at me while I slept with their big eyes. I felt like Sleeping Beauty with two gnomes awaiting for me to come back to life. Our love for each other was mutual.
I became their summer babysitter. I lived too far away to babysit them during the school year but during the summer, I was there 8am – 5pm, everyday, they were worth my trip. It was our summer camp. From year to year, I saw them change and grow but also stay exactly the same. I became close to their father. He worked from home as a guitar teacher. The older one followed in his footsteps. At that age, he was playing Jimmy Hendrix on his electric read guitar. The younger one did not look like anyone in his family. They were dark and he was blond and blue-eyed. He chose the drums as his instrument. He was the sensitive one. He was the ‘easier’ one. The one who was affectionate and sweet. His brother was rebellious with no stop signs. He was smart and articulate. The little one, tried to keep the peace. He rebelled and disobeyed in small doses. But with his back against the wall, he listened. I do not to have favorites, I love them both for their perfectly different qualities. But I loved the little one more.
Isaiah’s first Ukrainian nanny said that she always loves the little one the most. She said she loved Isaiah more than her own grandchildren sometimes because the youngest one is the one who needs more love. I thought it was sweet but so unfair. I cringed when she said it. When I think about having more kids, can I ever love Isaiah less than some other being.
The first few days of the summer was acclimation. Learning their new tricks. One summer, I noticed a mail obsession. When they saw the mail man come, they ran to the mailbox to see what he has brought. I did not understand, until one catalog arrived. Victoria Secret. The little one ran into the house holding the magazine in front of his face, shouting “BOOBS, BOOBS, BOOBS”, pretending to squeeze imaginary boobs with his other hand. From that day on, Boobs came up few times each day. This was the summer when, I felt little hands coming from all directions, ready to grab if I was not on guard. Often they would ask to go see my friend Cheryl who had large boobs. Can we see Cheryl and her Boobs. I did not contain my laughter well. I laughed all the time. Then I would get serious and proclaim, “Come on Guys!” This became my legendary quote.
Our summers were long. We went to the movies, swimming in the pool, and just good ol’ running around the back yard and the house. I did not feel like I was working. I felt like their older sister.
Since then, I saw them a few times when they were still kids.
It wasn’t until last summer that I met the 23-year-old and a 26-year-old young men that they have become. There voices were deep and unrecognizable. They were few heads taller than me. For the first time I had to look up at them. I tried to see the little boys hidden in the grown up bodies, they were there only in spirit. I know that I am getting older, but they were just kids.