Yesterday I was watching children from 9:30 a.m. to 9 p.m.
My morning shift (9:30-1:30) was with a smart child.
My afternoon shift (2-9) was with a socially-inadequate child.
I spend a lot of time with both of them in public and people automatically assume, given my age and the fact that I'm obviously overseeing them, that I'm their mother.
But I am not.
They are both special kids to me and I love them very much but there are those times, especially in public, when I want there to be the understanding that A) they are not mine and B) if they were, they wouldn't be acting that particular way.
Mind you, I am lucky because they do respect me and listen fairly well but they just have...quirks...that if they were mine, they probably wouldn't have.
During my afternoon shift, I was with "my" little girl at the pool, watching her awkwardly try to manuever a normal social situation for kids but for her, such a challenge. Yeah, I could have made it easier for her - I could have talked for her, introduced her, played with her, and while I did those things at first, I later sat on the edge of the pool and let her try it for herself.
It was painful.
I wanted to step in and make it better for her, make the other kids stop looking at her funny, help her say the right things, and understand what they were saying to her but on the other hand, I knew I couldn't.
I'm not always going to be sitting on the edge of her life to help her through. She's going to have to figure some of it out for herself.
But it made me think about this whole subject and that one day, hopefully, I'll have well-rounded kids - MY kids - who I'm not embarrassed for, who I don't have to excuse, who I don't have to apologize for. And yeah, my kids aren't going to be perfect and I know there'll be times where I will be embarrassed for them, have to excuse them and apologize for them, but at least, they'll be mine.
And their quirky personality traits will be a reflection of me.
Watch out, world!