Not Fit for the Job

There is probably no job so difficult as caring for other people’s children. I know it was the most difficult job I ever had and I wasn’t very good at it. Actually, I wasn’t very good to other people’s children. I was good with my own, to the best of my memory, I just didn’t have much patience with other children, who sometimes sassed me, thought their mother knew better than I and messed up my house.

I was young then and had lots of energy but little wisdom. Now that I’m old, I am easily able to fall in love with children, whether they are my own grandchildren or the children of a total stranger. Of course, now I don’t have the energy to ever take on a babysitting job although I continue to work daily at my office job. That’s because babysitting is hard work physically and can be emotionally draining. But even if you’re young, strong and basically nice, if you don’t have patience, you aren’t fit for the job. I wasn’t patient back when I was a babysitter for other people. I was a young mother at home with my own child and needed to make some money. Therein lies the problem. When a mother goes out to work, the people she has care for her children are too often those who are least equipped to do so.

Needing money and being willing to take children into your home to care for them is no guarantee that you will give those children the love and acceptance they need. You may be a nice person when you’re on public display, but you may scold like a fishwife if some little person puts jam covered hands all over your new curtains. I know I did. And I’m ashamed that I did.

Once I had the nicest little boy stay with me. My son was about a year and a half old. My little paying guest was a couple of years older and he was very bright. He talked my arm off, and every day he wore me down with trying to keep up with his inquisitiveness. Inevitably he would do something that would make me snap. I would scold him nastily and later be ashamed.

I am still ashamed of that behavior.

I think his mother finally figured out that I was not as good to her son as I should have been, because eventually she made other arrangements. I’m glad she did. I hope I didn’t seriously damage the psyche of that wonderful little guy whom I now recall with amazement. He was truly a bright, wonderful child. I was truly a flawed babysitter.

I think I’m a better person now, but I can’t undo my early life when I was given responsibility for which I was unfit. All I can do now is ask God to forgive me for my harshness and ask Him to bless that brilliant little boy, now a middle-aged man, wherever he may now be and for as long as he may live.

Name Withheld

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A Prayer for a Custody Case

Someone in our family is waiting to be able to see his child.  A hearing has been held but the judge has not yet ruled.  This is our prayer.

Dear Lord,

We have counted every day since disaster came our way;
Can someone see what’s true and end travesty today…

For we have waited patiently trusting in an equal law,
While hanging ‘round the telephone waiting for a call.

Injustice rules today, but we pray the tide will turn
And allow us once again to see the child for whom we yearn.

God be with us as we wait and help us remain patient. Give us the grace to accept the answer, whatever it may be.


Name Withheld



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Help! I need a kid.

Author’s Note:  I originally published this article on another website a few months ago. You will be happy to know that since then I have learned to take pictures on my I-Pad. I have also learned to email them.  Other than that, however, the I-Pad remains pretty much a mystery.

 The other day my grandson, 6 ½ months old stayed with me for a few hours. He spent most of the time playing on an old comfort on the floor and he put on quite a show.

He has learned to turn over so quickly it’s more like a flip than a roll, and he also has a terrific trick of turning his whole little body in a complete circle with a crab like motion than allows him to turn around without moving much in any direction.

He is able to creep forward a little on his belly and he’s working hard to learn to crawl, although so far it’s mostly rising to his hands and knees and rocking until he gives up and stretches out again.

I watched this show all afternoon until it neared time to go to church. As my husband would stay with him and I would go to church alone, I thought it would be great to record a little video of his antics to show off to my church friends.

I thought I knew how to take pictures and videos with my I-Pad—I have even done it before; but this time I spent over 10 minutes stewing over that I-Pad and couldn’t even figure out how to snap one still picture.

I fervently wished my granddaughters were there.  One is eleven; the other four; but both of them snap pictures and record videos with my I-pad every time they come over. Next time one of them is here, Grandma is going to get a lesson!

B. Killebrew

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Hot Stuff, Cool Delivery

I love to think about how we use language. Today I had fun thinking of all these common expressions that employ the word “hot”, none of which have anything to do with any measurable unit of heat.
Hot bed                                     Hot dog (Noun)
Hot potato                                 Hot dog! (exclamation)
Hot time                                    Hot lips
Hot head                                   Hot money
Hot seat                                    Hot rod
Hot for (Verb)                            Hot chick/Hot dame

I also thought of these expressions that use the words cold or cool, once again with no connection to actual temperature.

Cold hearted                            Cool headed
Cold turkey                               Cold cash
Cool! (adjective)                       Cold Fish
Cold case


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The other Grandma

We were grandmothers together to two of the nicest grandkids anybody ever had.  It makes great comedy on television for the two grandmothers to engage in rivalry, but that never happened with us.  We both babysat—sometimes on the same day—passing those wonderful children between us with her sometimes coming to get them from me and I sometimes going to her home to pick them up.  I liked her a lot and never doubted that she gave my grandchildren the best of love and care. Even after our children divorced, our relationship remained the same.

Can you imagine how sad I was for my grandchildren when I recently learned that her cancer was terminal and she did not have much longer to live?  It was heartbreaking for me because of those grandchildren.  They were facing one of the most difficult losses of life at a time when it would be most devastating.

When I saw my four-year-old granddaughter a couple of days later, I said to her, “Honey, I’m sorry your nana is so sick.”  Perhaps she didn’t want to talk about it; perhaps she was busy playing with cousins; or perhaps she didn’t really hear me.  All she replied was, “That’s okay.”

The next day, when I was with her again, after a few minutes, she nearly jumped in my face and yelled at me, “Aren’t you sorry about my nana?”

“Of course I am, Honey; remember, I told you I was sorry yesterday.”

“You didn’t.”

“I guess you didn’t hear me but I am sorry, Sweetheart.  I even wrote a prayer for your nana.”

“Where is it?” she demanded.  “Read it to me.”

“I don’t have it with me.  I left it at home, but we could say a prayer for Nana right now.”

“No, write it.”

She brought a small piece of paper and thrust it at me.  As I struggled (out loud for her benefit) to find words, she scribbled on another piece of paper, first seeming to write what I said and later saying aloud words of her own.  When I had finished, she said she was going to mail the prayers to her Nana in the city where she was in the hospital.  She said, “I know how to mail things.”  Then she folded up both papers (rather messily) and asked me to write on them.  At her instruction, I wrote, “To Nana at Indianapolis. She then immediately ran out of the house to place the “letters” in the rural mail box.

I made a mental note to tell her father to retrieve them later but I forgot to tell him.

Two days more passed and I saw my little granddaughter again.  She was not in a very good mood and I asked her why she was so “saucy” with me.  Her answer, “I want to be saucy because I’m mad and I’m sad.”  Of course I asked her why and her answer was heartbreaking.  “Because I don’t want my nana to go and I know she has to.  She has to next month.”

“How do you know that?” I asked.

“Because I know things; she tells me things.” And then she added in a tone of despair, “And the mail doesn’t even go to Indianapolis.”

There was nothing I could do at that point but tell her I loved her.  I later learned that she was the one who got the mail every day for her daddy and she had been complaining about her letters not being taken until her dad finally looked at the box and discovered the “letters”.

The very next day after this dear precocious child told me she knew her nana had to go, her mother called and asked that the child be brought to Nana’s bedside to say goodbye.  Her dad took those precious prayers along so she could give them to Nana personally.

I wept.


Name Withheld  (Contributor’s request. See note below.)

Please  Note:   This is an entirely true and very recent story which is the reason why I request that my name be withheld if you use this article.

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This Little Pig

(This is something I sometimes chant to little children instead of the age-old “This Little Piggy”)

This little pig is my little
I really love it true,
This little pig is my little pig
this little pig is my little pig
And this little pig is too.
This little pig is my little pig,
But this one belongs to YOU!

(As soon as I wiggle the last teeny-tiny “piggy” I always touch my forefinger to the child’s belly– to their delight.)

Betty Killebrew

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Going Buggy

If  I were a little bug, with wings to fly away,
No way would I be hanging ’round the same old folks each day.
I’d bat my little wings, swish- swish, and head for parts unknown,
Taking no one with me, just buzzing on my own.
I’d be at someplace new each day and on one would know where;
And I’d take steps to be assured no one would find me there,
For all those folks who swat at me with endless aggravation
Have led me to want nothing more than to “bug out” on vacation.

Edwina Williams

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What Children Know

Have you noticed the children of today know a lot,
And a lot of what they know are things we did not?
In fact, I’m pretty sure in this modern day,
Kids learn things they shouldn’t know anyway.
In school they once taught us that old golden rule,
Now there are different things in our kids’ learning pool.
It’s appalling to a grandma to hear a child say
Something she didn’t know on her eighteenth birthday!
What have we done with innocence; why rush to let kids know
Things we found out the old way, by “learning as you go”?

Edwina Williams

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My Rocking Horse

Once I had a rocking horse
I rode from here to there.
Its little red wood rockers
Helped it rock me everywhere.
I think I rode through Texas
And I’m sure I stopped to shoot
At least a dozen gunslingers
In spurs and cowboy boots.
I rode the varnish off the floor
And faster did I gallop
Until that old horse threw me off
And gave me quite a wallop;
But I climbed right back in the saddle
And soon subdued that horse;
Though it was tired of galloping fast,
So I slowed down of course.
Time passed and I outgrew my steed
And it was taken from my home,
But it left behind these happy thoughts
About how I rocked and roamed.

Edwina Williams

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My Favorite Stubborn Child

Confident, competent, tough as any nail,
A little girl just four years old determined not to fail.
No shrinking violet here—no dainty little lass;
She stands firm on two small feet and often she will sass.
How strong she is, how full of life, how beautiful and stubborn,
A leader on the playground to whom other kids are summoned.
What hides behind her little face and her stubborn little pout?
Is there some quivering weakness there that really should come out?
Oh how I long to hold her and let her sob away,
But she’s too tough to ever let her fearfulness have sway.
I envy her the strength of will that she has forged of steel—
The never-letting-anyone discern what she may feel
But oh I worry for this child—this stubborn, willful child;
I’m concerned that in her willfulness, she’ll grow up to be wild.
God grant that her strong will may always lead her on
The path that leads to righteousness and not the one to wrong.


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