Thursday, October 14, 2010
Writer’s Workshop: My last babysitting gig
A memorable babysitting job.
When I was in my first year of college, a local family asked me to babysit their foster daughter. I had attended high school with their twin sons and they knew I was from a Christian family so I guess it gave me credibility in their minds.
It was usually a situation where the family wanted to spend some private time with their biological children who were into sports. I remember they lived in a very large expensive house so I'm pretty sure they were not doing foster care for the money; it was probably out of a Christian duty to help the less fortunate.
I already had a great part-time job at a coffee shop and didn't need the money; I can't even remember what they paid me. I just remember thinking it might be a one time gig and couldn't find a reasonable excuse to say no.
On our first meeting the foster mom was exasperated with the 10 year old girl. She explained that the girl had been sexually abused as a child and was thus very sexually outgoing in school - in other words, she was too young to have sex but flirted outrageously with all the boys and they were all terrified of her having not gone through puberty yet.
I remember feeling overwhelmed with sadness, sympathy and protectiveness for Becky. She was an absolute sweetheart and she adored me. Since I had my own car, I started taking her places - to the City Park for a photo shoot to support my photography class, to the movies, to my mom's house for good home cooked food and any where else we could think of. I had to get her out of the house or she would sit on the phone and call the boys in her class and that really freaked me out because of what her foster mom had said.
Once she convinced me to drive by her biological mom's house; I didn't have the heart to say no. She was so convincing, she just wanted to catch a glimpse of home. Later her foster mom called to ask me kindly to not do that again, I can't remember why but it had something to do with them trying to separate her from the abusive situation. It was heartbreaking, I couldn't imagine being separated from my mom!
On my last babysitting gig with Becky, she begged me to adopt her. I had no idea how to do this as an 18 year old with plans to move away to Pittsburgh in the fall and attend art school. I tried to tell her that she had it good where she was at, with a good Christian family who cared for her but she wanted more. She wanted a friend and a mom.
I know I was the best babysitter ever to this girl! I only wish I had found a way to stay in touch with her. I still have the black and white photographs taken at the city park and processed in my first photography class.