I was the proverbial CT Working Mom way before this blog got going. This was the time when dinosaurs walked the face of the earth and we actually had to pick up a “land line” phone to talk to each other! It’s hard to believe all the changes that have transpired since my kids were little.
We started looking at houses in 1981 and the real estate agent asked us if we were looking for a “Starter House.” Here I was with two kids under the age of three and expecting a third. I looked at her and said, “No, we’ve already started!” So we find a rambling wreck of a Colonial Revival Victorian and left the closing with 6 cents in our pockets. We scrimped and tried to save but inevitably if we saved $400, the car would die and the bill would be $400! A few months after the baby came I took a job that was only three days a week because in one short week the refrigerator died, the city raised our taxes and all the bills were due.
Now how was I going to do this with kids?
I was going to put the three of them in daycare, but as it is today it was then also… Way too expensive!
I had to find another way.
Mary was sent from Heaven above to help me with my daughters. She had raised four beautiful children to adulthood and was bored to death. She didn’t drive, she didn’t work outside the home, she was older and wiser and she lived right across the street! Mary made cakes from scratch! Her kitchen was a proverbial candy shop to my kids. This is not to say that I didn’t cook from scratch, because we were too poor to eat out or have luxuries such as Twinkies in the house. There was little in the way of junk food but there was always fresh fruit and non-sugary cereal for them to snack on. (Like kids really like that…NOT!) Mary had CABLE!!! We had ripped it out of the house when all they did was sit in front of the TV! Yes, they wailed and gnashed their teeth and begged and cried but we never put the cable back in that house and we lived there for some 23 years!
So I hired Mary to watch my kids. She was great! And my children quickly took to her and loved her and loved spending time at her house.
When my fourth daughter was born, Mary was still with me watching the girls. The kids spent as much time across the street as they did in their own house. And when the youngest one started talking Mary came to me with a dilemma…
“Chris, I have something to tell you that might upset you about the baby,” she said.
“What? What?” Now I’m seriously worried. What could possibly be wrong?
“Stephanie is calling me ‘Mommy!’ I don’t know what to do?”
I looked at her and just started to laugh with relief.
“Mary,” I said. “Don’t you know that there are millions of kids around the world who don’t have one mommy? My kids are blessed to have two!”
To this day my girls have held a special bond with Mary. She still lives in the same house, but we moved from the neighborhood eleven years ago. She will always have a place in my heart as my helpmate in raising my girls. I couldn’t have asked for a better second Mommy!