God bless the babysitters

Tomorrow, a person who changed the entire trajectory of my life celebrates a birthday (and so does my husband).

I met the person I’m talking about when she was about 15-years old. Eerily calm and consistently capable, she unfrazzled my life and reintroduced me to the profound joy of solitary pursuits.

Her name is Jenny Flannery-Bosin and she was our family’s first babysitter.

My husband and I had our first child when we were 23-years old and, despite clear and growing evidence that we were winging the whole parenting thing, those babies just kept coming.

I remember thinking with mounting panic as we packed up our oldest son and prepared to remove him from the safe confines of his hospital bassinet, “Are you mad? This sweet, squirmy little thing is our precious child! You can’t be sending him home with us! We have absolutely no idea what we’re doing.”

My husband spent that whole first night sitting at the foot of our bed, staring at the little bugger, asleep in our hand-me-down crib.

“I don’t think we have to watch him while he sleeps,” I offered helpfully, though, frankly, I wasn’t sure either.

We never used a pacifier on any of our first three children, because we didn’t know they existed. We didn’t know about baby sitters either, not really.

I’m not even sure what divine intervention occurred to bring Jenny into our lives but, one day, there she stood on the bright yellow linoleum of our weird kitchen floor, smiling and holding one little baby, as the two others circled near.

“So, I’m going to leave then,” I said, edging my way to the door. “And you’re going to..?”

“I’ll take them to the park,” she said.

I high-tailed it out to the car before she could change her mind.

And, here’s the really beautiful thing, the next time I asked? She came back.

In fact, until she left for college, an act of betrayal from which I am still recovering, Jenny consistently babysat my three oldest kids. They looked forward to her visits as much as I did, which made my escapes blissfully guilt free.

God bless the babysitters.

To absolutely no one’s surprise, Jenny grew up, became a teacher, a wife and a wonderful mother to three adorable boys.

I feel lucky all over again as I see her pictures scroll through my Facebook newsfeed. They show her and her boys picking apples, building snowmen, making crafts and doing all the things I know she did with my lucky children all those years ago.

I want to take this opportunity to wish Jenny a Happy Birthday and to say thanks for the rescue.

You brightened our world.

Flannery-Bosin family
Here’s our former babysitter with her boys. It has been no surprise to us that Jenny grew up to be a wonderful teacher, wife and mother.
Jenny Flannery Christmas ornament
We gave her this ornament many years ago because she was the first best babysitter we ever had. She set the bar and we were lucky enough to have some wonderful babysitters after she left. (Apparently, Jenny is still more organized than I because when I asked if she could send me a picture of the ornament we gave her some 20 years ago, she responded within 10 minutes with this shot.)
Bigger Beauty and the Beasts
God bless the babysitters because these three kept us hopping until Molly came along to keep us all in line.





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