Enjoying Macarena Moments

My babysitter is getting married. She is the little girl who grew up across the street. She was the first person we met when we moved in close to 20 years ago. Sara proudly introduced herself and then introduced her parents, along with their ages, and mentioned to us that her mother dyes her hair. Her father does not. She said this all in one breath. She was eight.

When I was pregnant with Evan, Sara had a lemonade stand on the corner. I was nine months at the time and eagerly anticipating my son’s arrival. She sold me a cup of luke warm lemonade. I went into labor that night. For the next several years, she announced to all who would listen that her lemonade was directly responsible for Evan’s birth. She loved her connection to our family. And I loved it, too. As we added boy after boy, Sara was right there, ready to greet and bring a present and let that baby know how important she would be in his life. And she was.

I have a few very distinct memories of Sara. When I was pregnant with Russell, I hired her to play with my two-year-old-Evan while I cleaned the attic. I was always cleaning the attic when the boys were young. I remember looking out the attic window at the two of them. She was teaching him the macarena, a dance that was very popular at the time. She would perform a dance move and then urge him to do the same. He would attempt it and then fall over laughing. She would pounce and tickle him and tickle him until he gave in and tried the move again. I think I watched them for maybe 30 seconds. I was busy cleaning the attic and she was on the clock.

Another time, she was playing with one of the boys who was still in diapers. I don’t remember who it was, but I know that all of a sudden, he had a diaper explosion. The mess was everywhere, down his legs and up his back. I remember saying to her, I’ll take him. I’ll clean him. You don’t have to do this. She put up her hand to me and said, “No, I’ll do it.” She took off, up the stairs. As I stood at the bottom, wondering. Shaking my head. In a short time, I heard playtime resume. And laughter. There was always laughter when Sara was around.

And then my favorite memory. My last boy had been born and Sara was babysitting all three. They were so little at the time. I have no idea where we went or who we were with. I recall it felt so good to get out. When we came home, I asked her about the night. “It was good,” she said. “I stroke their backs until they fall asleep. They like that.”

Those are not my only memories of Sara, my babysitter extraordinaire. There are many more. It is hard to believe that she is all grown up now. And in love. And ready to dress up in a beautiful white dress and commit her life to another person. I don’t know her fiance well. In fact, I don’t know Sara all that well anymore. But I did. And so, really, I always will.

As I ponder the perfect wedding gift to give my sweet Sara, I remember the gifts she gave me so many years ago:

  • Dance the macarena. The attic can wait. Dance the macarena and tickle your dance partner and roll on the grass. And then dance it some more.
  • Clean up the poop. Life gets messy and dirty and poop, well, poop happens. Clean it up yourself, because there is nothing like the feeling of completing a task that would have been easier to hand over to another. And there is no better smell than that of a clean baby boy.
  • Take time to stroke the back of someone you love. In this world of running, running, running, achieving, aspiring, and accomplishing, take time to stroke someone’s back. Because they like that.

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