I have a little boy at my house this week who is letting me know he's not very happy with me. Not in words, but actions...and I can't be mad at him because, even at my age, I can remember how frustrating and heartbreaking life could be as a child when I had no control over things happening in my life. Until you're 18, you're basically at the mercy of whoever is in charge of raising you.
This little guy is my buddy Christian. I've been taking care of him in various capacities for the past two years...before school, after school, part of the time last summer. We've become very attached in these two years. Sadly, the time's come where I can no longer offer him day care...partly because of health limitations. Because I have no kids in our neighborhood for him to play with, and no electronic game systems. Last summer on the days I took care of him, sometimes I was so desperate for him to have someone to play with because he was so bored that I'd take him to McDonald's Play Place and let him loose for a couple of hours since there were always kids there. He's at an age now, almost 7, where he's not all that interested in toys anymore. I'm collecting Social Security now and the possibility of tax penalties if I'm not careful with any extra money I make is a big consideration, too. But mostly...mostly...in complete honesty...I'm just ready to say goodbye to taking care of other people's kids. I've been doing it all my life and I no longer have the "want to" in me to keep up the pace needed to do a good job of it. And rather than becoming a cranky old lady doing something she no longer wants to do, I'm hanging up my hat.
That isn't to say it isn't going to be wrenching to say goodbye. I love him almost as much as I love my grandsons. But as he and I have been talking about it here and there since he learned about it, I think even in his young mind he knows I'm not up to the task anymore. Not that it's going to be easy on him, either, as I know he loves me, too.
I'm going to give him a gift tomorrow, our last day together. I collect angels and I took the most beautiful one I have, one with a lot of sentimental value to me, and wrapped it up in a box. The bigger the sacrifice, the more precious the giving, right? I wrote in his card that I was giving him this angel to keep in a safe spot, and every time he looks at it to remember that I'm praying for him always. I told him he will always have a Heavenly Father who is only a whisper away. And I told him I love him...but, more importantly, Jesus loves him. REALLY loves him. That is the most important gift of all.