One of the very best things about having teenage daughters is that they are excellent babysitters. TCD has been babysitting for a few years, sporadically until just a few months ago when the entire ward discovered her. And just recently, Spell Girl has gotten into the babysitting market. She became the back up when people couldn't get TCD, and then they realized how awesome she is and started REQUESTING her. They are totally different in their style and demeanor. TCD is a typical oldest child, so she directs and cleans and makes sure no one gets hurt. The kids feel safe with her and they love when she occasionally brings a fun crafty thing over for them to do. Spell Girl is more of a free spirit. She gets down on the floor and plays. She engages the kids. And she becomes their best friend. Their personalities fit with different kinds of families and different kids, and they each have their own little following of tiny fans. At church, there are always a couple of kids running down the hall to wave at TCD or Spell Girl, or sneaking out of a class to say, "Hi" as they walk down the hall. It's pretty cute.
A few weeks ago, TCD was in a pretty bad mood. That's the thing about having a personality that is larger than life. When you're UP people can feel it from miles away and they come running to be around you. But when you're down, people feel that, too. We could ALL feel TCD's mood that particular day (I'm pretty sure they could feel it in Utah!!) and it wasn't delightful to be around her. By mid afternoon on Saturday, I was praying for some small miracle to come and dispel the gloom that had settled on our entire house. One of her regular babysitting parents texted shortly after and asked if she would be available for a LONG babysitting job that night. I was hesitant to let her go, but she wanted to, so I texted back that yes she was available. A few minutes later that same mom phoned and said that a situation had come up, and her SISTER'S kids would also be there, and would TCD please find a friend to bring with her to help. (8 kids, all under the age of 8, including one baby who was barely walking!) My first thought was for her to take Spell Girl...they live in the same house, it would be easy to work with her, she's good with little kids. But TCD was not exactly open to suggestions that day. So, instead she sent out a mass text to all of her friends begging them to come and babysit with her. No one was available. She grudgingly settled for Plan B...Spell Girl. And I reluctantly let them go. I was seriously worried for Spell Girl. I had visions of TCD giving orders all night and making Spell Girl do all the work.
But...I was worried for nothing...
TCD hung onto her grump all the way to the babysitting job. She barely spoke to either me or Spell Girl and only to bark a few snide comments at us. But the minute we pulled into the driveway, and those four little fans came running out to greet her, she softened. I could see it on her face. She tried to stay grumpy, but she just couldn't do it. They dropped whatever they were playing with to come running to the car. And they all threw their little arms around her when she finally got out, and dragged her to the house. It was the most touching thing to watch her melt. Spell Girl and I both breathed a little sigh of relief and I pulled out of the driveway much more confident about their evening.
That babysitting job was exactly what TCD needed to get her out of her own head. The girls babysat for 7 hours that night and had a great time doing it. Everyone was happy and safe when their parents got home, and my girls realized that they're a pretty darn good team. I love having an entire ward help do the things you can't always do on your own as a parent.