When Jack was a baby I found a laminated note in my mailbox, bright with different color markers. It read:
Need a babysitter?
Hi! My name is Lindsay! I'm almost 13 years old.
I've been babysitting for three years.
I love kids.
I'm free whenever, so please give me a call.
AND...I'm VERY responsible!
Jack was only a few months old, so I tucked it in my cupboard and thought I'd call her when he was just a little older because she was so young.
The next spring, we were garage saling in the neighborhood. I stopped at a sale, and did some shopping with Jack on my hip. A young girl comes out of the garage and says, "Ooooh. That baby is so cute! Can I hold him?" I tossed him over to her and said, "Sure! Do you babysit?" And she responded, "Yes...my name is Lindsay."
I swear if that wasn't just one of the most important days of my parenting life.
Lindsay began watching my kids when Jack was one, so five years ago. She's one of those rare gems who isn't only good with kids, but genuinely loves them. She's social, and kind, and thoughtful, and super responsible. She always shows up when she says she's going to, and my kids adore her. Kids are very good judges of character, and they get positively giddy when she's coming to watch them.
She hasn't had an easy few years. Her mom was sick, and she passed away two years ago. Lindsay took excellent care of her mom when her health was failing, and really stepped up to the plate during her care at the end of her life. It was more than anyone could expect of a sixteen year-old, but that's how she is, and I'm wasn't one bit surprised when she performed as an adult, mature beyond her years.
She missed her mom, and she had a hard time finding her footing after her mom passed away. I'm so damn proud of the adversities she's overcome. She's an absolute inspiration to me. This week, she graduates high school and will be going on to live the next chapter of her life. I have no doubt that whatever she decides to tackle, she'll do it, and she'll do it well. Whoever she touches will be blessed with her presence and I can't wait to see what adventures lie ahead for her.
A lot of seniors put on their cap and gown and can feel proud of their accomplishment, as they well should. But Lindsay, she's worked extra hard to earn it and I'm sure her momma is smiling down from Heaven with pride.
I am thankful that she's been part of my family these past five years. I know that she'll still be here for me and my kids for awhile, but her journey will take her further away from our family, and we'll have to find a replacement for her. That will be difficult. She's one of a kind, and I don't take for granted the gift we've had in her.
So I'll end by saying to you, dear girl, that I am so proud of you. I'm thankful for you letting me into your life and letting us all be part of it. I'm so thankful that when life was hard, you made good choices and you leaned on people who wanted to help and found good, positive people who encouraged you to stay the course. We learn the most from the hard stuff; embrace struggle and know that you'll come out on the other side of it better, stronger, and wiser. You are a treasure and I love you!