21 May 2023

Shrine Mont

 Since September I have been working at a church taking care of children during services so their parents can worship without having the interruption of a small child. It’s been great! The children are wonderful and so are the parents and so are my colleagues. I applied for the position while I was still working at Sunrise and it began that I was going to just be a substitute and fill in as needed. I wasn’t exactly sure how I was going to work early Sunday mornings after working late Saturday nights as a caretaker but I was doubting they would actually need me as a sub and figured I’d cross that bridge when I got there. Turned out I had to take some time off work at Sunrise because Matt was sick and one Sunday morning I got a call from an unknown number. Thinking it was spam I picked up and hung up without saying anything. Then came another call from that number and I was like, “wow this is one determined telemarketer,” but I let it go to voicemail. Turned out it was the church and they needed me to fill in last minute on the first day they were opening the childcare back up since Covid. I scrambled to see if my father in law could babysit Vana since Matt was sick and luckily he could. Normally I would have been sound asleep on a Sunday morning but since Matt got sick and I took off from my night job I was awake and ready in a pinch. A few days later I got a text from my boss asking if I could work again that Sunday and I agreed. After that I was asked if I wanted to be a permanent employee and I said of course. I never got the story on why it didn’t work out with the person they originally hired but I was happy I got the job. I have enjoyed working there so much and this weekend it made me enjoy it even more. Every year the church takes a trip to a retreat 2 hours away called Shrine Mont. It’s a beautiful area in the mountains. They asked me if I could come and provide childcare for the youngest kids. Since I don’t drive and taking time away from my kids is low on my wishlist, I asked if it would be feasible for the whole family to come. Graciously I was told they were welcomed too, which was so nice because it was all expenses paid including meals. I was a bit nervous about feeling awkward on the trip but I am so glad we went! Both girls had such a great time. Saturday morning after breakfast I had my tiny group of kids, with 3 kids total including Vanessa. We played with some balls outside and play dough and other toys I brought, had snack, then went inside to a small playroom for an hour. It was great! Natalie was off with older kids taking a walk and doing a craft. I wasn’t sure she was really connecting with the other kids but she said she had a good time and she really liked the adults running the group. Later there was a social hour and I was shocked that Nat wasn’t in her room and instead already made her way down to it and was sitting on the porch next to her peers with a plate of food. I made some small talk with the other kids and then they mentioned something about hide and seek and started to run off. Nat wasn’t sure if she was included but one girl came running backcand was like “are you coming?” So Natalie ditched her full plate of food and ran off with them. From there that night was her hanging out with these kids, going to the dining hall with them, they had an awesome water fight on the lawn, went back and forth to each others rooms and then ventured off to gaze at satellites in the sky. It made my heart so happy to see her being social and happy and having fun. There were two girls in particular she bonded with and they seemed to just adore Natalie. It was so sweet. They asked several times if she can go to church with them and they made sure to give me their moms phone numbers and they hugged her and came to her room looking for her. Vanessa also made a new friend, a little girl I’ve met in the nursery at work a couple times. Her parents were very kind and took both Vanessa and their daughter on a walk and let me stay back. I had to let my guard down and be super trusting that they would keep a keen eye on her because I have such anxiety about that kind of stuff. After their walk we went to a service in the most beautiful outdoor setting. Vanessa wanted to go since her friend was going and Natalie showed up after the service started and then her friends motioned for her to come join them across the pews. She was nervous to do it at first because she didn’t want the attention on her or to be disruptive but they assured her it was okay and she could walk behind everyone. Vanessa and her friend played with stuffed animals that they kept dropping and then they climbed on rocks but overall they did well for 3 year olds. I was so glad to have the experience and it seems sort of dream like to meet so many nice people who care about your kids! 

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