Later, she would tell me how relieved she was not to find me greeting her at the door wearing a housecoat, with curlers in my hair and a cigarette hanging out of my mouth.
She found my number from a flier I had posted at the university’s school of education. While she needed and wanted the job, she was unfamiliar with the city; with great trepidation she came to our house for an interview.
My baby was six months old; just old enough to start moving around, sleeping a bit less than a newborn, and making it very difficult for me to write about supply chain transformation and electronic data for my clients. I needed someone to help me take care of the baby downstairs, so that I could work upstairs.
She fit like a dream into our life. My work time was flexible, and each quarter I’d adjust to fit her class schedule. She loved tasking care of our son. Sometimes I would come downstairs to see his stuffed animals lined up, (the audience) while my son put on a show in his bouncy seat. She taught him to do puzzles, and how to put the rings on the pole in exactly the right order. She made him laugh, and I could hear that sound tingle all the way up the stairs while I wrote about those supply chains. She wasn’t just a babysitter; she was like having that kid sister around that I always longer for, but never had.
This was taken during one of her post-job visits on my son’s birthday after he was older. She always stayed in touch, always remembering his birthdays. Tomorrow, I will find that picture of her leading the puppet show, a non-digital photo, and update this post with that picture. I can see it in my mind, and that picture makes this story.
If she had time, and she always did, she would follow the step-by-step instructions in the cookbook of the recipe I marked. Then she cleaned up the kitchen, after fixing our dinner, while the baby slept. Then, she’d plump up the pillows, water the plants, and make sure the new diapers I picked up at the store were out of the package and ready to go.
Before she left for her apartment, she’d fill me in with everything that I missed while I worked, and give us the latest campus news, and updates about her family. We’d both swap stories about our favorite parts in the picture books I’d checked out at the library.
I just heard from her, and all day I haven’t been able to get her out of my mind. Writing about the way our simple uncomplicated life used to fall into place every night makes me homesick for her, and for the way things used to be. I once did have it made. Oh how I need someone like her in my life again.