Tuesday, August 25, 2009

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Living in a college town is amazing. There is always something interesting going on. We've gone to plays, concerts, comedy shows, lectures, outdoor festivals, sporting events... The students bring such great energy to the community. Our hometown is vibrant and alive with youth and optimism.

Of course, like everything, it's a mixed blessing. Thousands of freshmen and dozens of one-way streets lead to a lot of car accidents. Walmart is a complete zoo and will be for a couple of weeks (so we do our best every year to stock up before the kids come back!).

Heather, over at Little Fiddly Bits, said:
Not only have several thousand freshmen arrived who've never driven in this city before, there are a few hundred students from abroad who have likely never driven in this country before. Campus will be an interesting place to GO NOWHERE NEAR for a few weeks, until things settle down a bit.
The population of our town doubles every year in August, and then halves every year in May. Summer is just long enough to get used to the quiet, the lack of traffic, the not having to worry about when the football game is starting... and then fall arrives and we're surprised all over again with the business of it all.

You'd think we'd be used to it - BJ's been here for 15 years, and I'm going on 11!

But the very best part - better than Homecoming, better than football season, better than a new schedule at the auditorium, better than the bustle, MUCH better than all the wrecks that will inevitably happen on our once sleepy streets....


Allison has been watching our kids since her freshman year. She started college when Mary Grace turned one, and started watching her a few hours a week while I worked. Then Claire came along, and once she got too big to go to the office with me, Allison kept her too.

It has been a long summer without her. A long summer of juggling and constantly feeling like I'm behind at work and imposing on my friends and relatives for babysitting.

I have to tell you about Allison, because in all the time I've been blogging, I don't think I've ever embarrassed her by writing about her sung her praises. Allison grew up next door to my aunt (my mom's sister) and watched my cousins when they were little. Her mom is great friends with my bonus mom - they owned a business together for a long time. So, even though I didn't know her when she arrived as a freshman, I knew enough people who trusted her that I felt like I could trust her, too.

I was right. In the three years that Allison has been watching the kids, she has not ONCE said one negative word about them or their behavior. Not once. She hasn't ever said, "They were rotten today!" or "They fought like cats and dogs!" or "They drove me nuts!" even though I know my kids are perfectly capable of all three. She has the kindest heart and the gentlest spirit. We have been SO blessed to have someone we trust to take care of our kids. She has arranged her schedule, semester after semester, so that she could be here. She has watched the kids grow. The kids absolutely love her - almost as much as I do!

I almost cried with relief when she arrived yesterday. And as I drove away, I didn't have one single twinge of guilt, because I knew she would take excellent care of them, as she always has. I knew they'd have a great day, like they always do.

I can't tell you how lucky we are to have a caregiver we trust.

Now it's her senior year, and I'm not sure what we're going to do if she graduates and leaves. Is it selfish of me to hope that she attends grad school here? Just get my kids into Kindergarten, Allison, before you leave. None of this would work without you.

1 comment:

RobMonroe said...

I love living in a college town - but not for the caregiver. (Hi Allison! I hear you're amazing!)

This year I am determined to take better advantage of all that UMD (GO TERPS!) offers, but will indeed avoid campus and the main drag for several weeks.

On Sunday we needed diapers for first day of school on Monday. We drove by at 3:30 in the afternoon when we realized that school was starting. I went back during bed-routine-time. :o)

(We also get better delivery service because the restaurants all deliver to campus!!)