Thursday, 16 June 2011

I'm a walking cliche

I have to tell you a story that has left me struggling in shame. I’ve tried to force it down into that space where such stories can often live for years, sometimes forever, without another person ever hearing them. But this story refuses to hide in the darkness of my heart. It’s been on the tip of my tongue in every conversation. It threatens to jump out of my mouth without my consent.

I see no alternative to writing it down. I see no other way it will set me free.

It began a few weeks ago on Naveen’s first “visit” to the infant room at the daycare which was intended to ease his transition into our upcoming change in routine.

That’s when I met her.

I was hoping she was the mom of one of the babies. She easily could have been one of those moms of an indecipherable age. Maybe a really busy single mom, I thought. With a gaggle of unruly kids demanding every ounce of her exuberance, leaving her lethargic and haggard.

The poor woman. No wonder she scowled when I smiled nervously at her. I knew how much yelling was involved trying to keep one naughty preschooler in line; I could just imagine the shrieking required to bring this mythic tribe of hooligans in her charge to order.

And she was obviously sleep-deprived. The dark under-eye circles were a dead giveaway. I of all people could spot a weary mother. And how selfless of her to bestow such little thought to what she was wearing. A pair of men’s grey jogging pants, dirty scuffed white tennis shoes and a sweatshirt festooned with a kitten and the phrase It’s hard being purr-fect.

I wouldn’t blame her for having a few extra glasses of wine once her wild brood were finally in bed. And our eyes met long enough for me to see that hers were bloodshot, possibly the result of putting her feet up with a few too many cold ones.

“Hey, I’m Gene,” she pushed an un-manicured hand my way. Large man hands. “I’m here on Mondays and Tuesdays.”

“Oh good!” I croaked, “I’m Kim.”

And as I walked out of the building leaving my baby in her care for a full hour, I prayed to God that Naveen not give this woman any reason to unleash the fury she looked to be capable of.

This past Monday, after I dropped the kids off for the second week, I made a shaky promise to myself to not call the Daycare. I knew that if anything was really wrong, they would call me and it had only served to make me feel even more torn and helpless the previous week when I could hear Naveen crying in the background during each of my phone calls.

So at the end of the day, when I rushed in to fetch my baby, you can imagine how stunned I was to see him nuzzling Gene’s neck, smiling peacefully, while she stroked his back. And before she noticed me, she grabbed him by the middle, held him up above her face and the two of them giggled like old friends, like mother and child. I watched her face contort this way and that, making him laugh madly.

I knew in that moment I had a lot more work to do on myself.


I'm joining those ladies at the Red Dress Club in their prompt physical beauty. I took my own approach to it.

24 comments:

  1. I would have been just like you in that situation Kim. When it comes to our kids, it's natural to assume the worst-it's what we do best sometimes. I'm so glad to hear that Gene turned out to be a loving care giver after all-despite outward appearances:)

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  2. She has a gift. Blessings come in unlikely packages that's for sure. ;) You are such a champ!! So open and authentic...I love that about you. :) I'm happy Naveen has found someone to support and nurture him, what a blessing. I had a toddler like that when I was teaching. Her name was Ariana. Her Mom, who was of Arabic descent, told me that they didn't trust a lot of people with their baby. Ariana had just moved to the states from Iraq and had been with no one but her Mom and Dad. I got to know her and her family...She was "mine" for 3 and 1/2 years. She loved me and I loved her...Her Mom told me, the only way she could focus on her studies and her job was knowing that I cared for Ariana as much as she did, I was her "Mom" when she had to be away...Ariana would cling to me and eventually wanted me until she went off to KDG, But, you know what? No matter how much she loved me, she dropped me like a dirty dishrag when her Mama wanted a snuggle. :) peace

    Oh, and thanks for the lovely blog comments as always. ;)

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  3. I love seeing the world through your eyes. Thank you for allowing me to.

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  4. Reading this I pictured myself having the exact same thoughts!! I guess I have a lot of work to do on myself too!

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  5. Lovely writing. SOmetimes people surprise you :-)

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  6. the spelling of the name made me think Gene was a man. I thought this would be some crazy twist :)

    I'm glad everything turned out all right. I think people are much different around kids than adults sometimes

    visiting from RDC

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  7. This is wonderful!
    I love when people shock the heck out of me. It makes me remember that I should always treat others as I wish to be treated...

    Your writing is beautiful.

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  8. We all have some work to do. Well done.

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  9. What a wonderful surprise! My daycare provider comes in an unlikely package and I love her more than I can say.

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  10. I adore the honesty, the reflection, the stab beneath the surface.

    Wow- do we ever all have a lot of work to do on ourselves!

    This piece flowed really well. The tone is tight, tense, watchful.

    I really like the internal take that you took here!

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  11. I appreciate your honesty, and I, too, have a lot of work to do.

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  12. Aw Kim ... don't be too hard on yourself. You left your baby in her care. I might have taken mine and run for the hills!

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  13. I do stuff like this. A lot. Too much. The difference? I'm not usually brave enough to be so honest and transparent about it. There's a lot to be said for not judging a book and I have a long way to go in learning that lesson, but you reaffirmed some things for me with this post.

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  14. This was good! I like how you took the prompt to a place we can all recognize! We always said that if we had to do daycare or a nanny, she would be a big, old German nanny that never put up with crap from anybody. Kids ADORE people like that for some reason! Great job!

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  15. I loved this post. I love, even more, when people aren't quite what I assumed. It always makes me more cognizant of what I need to work on in myself. :)

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  16. Ah, the old never judge a book by its cover problem. And yet, we are wired to do exactly that.

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  17. So, so good. Yes, we all do this. We judge in our own ways, and then when our children are invovled? Forget about it.

    I have had anxiety dreams for the past month thinking about O starting full-day kindergarten in the fall...why? Because it's not just my little world.

    It's scary to see and hear them outside our walls. But good, too.

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  18. This is really beautiful writing. Fluid and captivating from the first sentence. Easy to read and to relate to. Such a great piece. Well done!

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  19. I think you were just following your natural mothering instincts. I am nervous about leaving my child with the most sunny, bright-eyed babysitter. Still, I applaud you for confronting your misjudgement.

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  20. Kim, your writing moves me every time I come here. I'm near tears reading this and just thinking of the love that your little one gave Gene in return. Children are so open, aren't they? They can sometimes see what we can't.

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  21. As a mom I think it's super smart and safe to assume the worst about everybody. Can you imagine how much worse you would have felt if you'd been right but hadn't followed your gut on something?

    I'm often wrong...way too often actually. But I think you handled the whole thing much better than I ever could have!

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  22. As a mom I think it's super smart and safe to assume the worst about everybody. Can you imagine how much worse you would have felt if you'd been right but hadn't followed your gut on something?

    I'm often wrong...way too often actually. But I think you handled the whole thing much better than I ever could have!

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  23. I love your honesty. I have been guilty of that same thing on more than one occasion.
    Thanks for sharing this, it leaves me humbled.

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  24. What a sweet moment when you saw that moment of affection between them. This is a beautifully reflective piece that speaks volumes to all of us. Thanks Kim!

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