Saturday, October 21, 2006

Blog #100 OR Clear Dark Night

I spent my evening as a babysitter last night for the first time since our church hosted the 40 Days of Purpose small groups. I watched 7 kids myself then--2 of whom were huge handfuls on their own. I was so happy when those 2 hours were over each week. No wonder why I quit babysitting...

So I kept the 4 boys my dear friend Angela nannies (can this be a verb?) the rest of the week. Their parents jaunted off to Paris for a long weekend and Angela had sitters covering a lot of the time that she doesn't usually work. I knew she had a big catering event for the Boston Faith and Justice Network, and needing a few bucks of my own, I offered my services. First of all, their schedules are maddening: play dates here, cross country there, soccer practice even though it's raining, baseball pizza parties...and this was only one night! (At least the baby was uncomplicated--he doesn't really talk and I was generally able to determine what he wanted. He responded when I said no and laughed when we were playing. Good times.) The boys are all between the ages of 12 and 1. There were 2 physical altercations during our time together, which doesn't surprise me since I've been around them enough, plus they are boys. They sorted those things out pretty well on their own. The last 3 hours together were actually nice and violence-free. We chatted politely over dinner, played some computer games, and read books. I enjoyed putting the 2 youngest ones to bed (although I do believe the 6 year old [Andrew] could talk the bark off a tree--I should get him in a room with one of my clients and see who would talk more). After I tucked him in, Andrew told me that I earned a reward. Being the behavior analyst that I am, I really wanted to know more about that reward. I earned a sticker for "being so nice." That was pretty cool.

Ang came home around 10. We chatted and watched some TV while eating leftover apple crisp. About midnight I walked out into the chilly autumn night to embark on my 30 minute ride home. The air felt really cold last night, reminding me that it's fall for real. As I rolled out onto the wide, nearly empty expanse of expressway, I saw a glittering black sky. Orion hung where I always used to see him when I didn't live in a region full of light polution. It was so clear and cold that those stars pressed in through the light. I breathed in the chill and rising heat of the radiator, remembering times laying on blankets in my childhood backyard, looking up at Orion, wondering about life. That hunter was there then and he's here now. He will probably still be there when I breathe my last. Comforting consistency in a world that moves so fast it trips on its own feet.

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