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Small cash inspires large decisions.

I am learning by experience that the first priority upon starting over is to find a way to make money.  Forget all of my great ideas to volunteer at the animal shelter, read War and Peace, write a novel, and learn to cook French food (from Julia Child’s cookbook, of course).  Money is everything, no matter how much I wish that it wasn’t.  And, honestly, cooking French food is pretty expensive.

I have a few sources of income right now.  I am still looking for the elusive job that not only pays the bills and has benefits, but also makes me excited to get out of bed in the morning.  But, I confess, my favorite job right now involves blonde-haired blue-eyed Matthew.  I love him.  He’s laid back, funny, smart, loves dogs, reads books, and he laughs at my jokes.

Never fear, this blog (hopefully) will not contain any boring, self-indulgent analysis over my past or present relationships.  But I may not be able to resist saying how cute Matthew is.  Of course he’s cute… he’s one year old.  And I am lucky enough to babysit him, which allows me to enjoy his cuteness for several hours at a time.

Babysitting stressed me out when I was a tween.  I spent many long Friday and Saturday nights working for a couple with three kids.  The parents both worked until well after midnight, and their kids were completely unruly (and I’m being kind).  I was intimidated by the fact that I had to feed them (they did not own a microwave so I had to actually cook), help them with their homework (provided that I could actually get them to do their homework at all), make them brush their teeth (which wasn’t so hard with the girl, but it was nearly impossible with the boys), and make sure they were in bed at a reasonable hour (allowing at least an hour for their stalling techniques).  I made enough money from them to buy myself a pair of Guess jeans, which was all I really wanted at the time.  Needless to say, the family moved to another town, and I declared myself retired.

Now, for the first time since I was 12, I am babysitting again.  Unlike my previous charges, Matthew is an angel.  He loves to eat, so feeding him is easy (and I only wish he was old enough so I could cook French food for him).  He doesn’t have homework, but I like to make him practice walking (which he does willingly and emphatically).  He LOVES getting his teeth brushed (even though he can’t do it himself).  And, best of all, he goes right to sleep without a fuss.  It’s cute overload, kind of like a kitten pile.  But Matthew is doing much more for me than simply giving me a smile, a laugh, and a low-stress opportunity to make some cash.

As an adult, I’ve always been on the fence about having kids of my own.  I constantly waver from one extreme to the other, but the reality is that I’ve never actually had a reason to make a solid choice on the matter.  I’ve never been married, so I’ve never reached the point in a relationship where I’d have to honestly confront the issue.  And in the relationships I’ve had so far, none of them had ever expressed any serious interest in being a dad.

It’s not that Matthew has made me decide once and for all that I do or do not want kids; it’s that he is making me realize that I should at least make a decision about it… soon.  I am at the age where, regardless of whether I have one of my own or I adopt, I need to consider (for example) whether I’m going to want teenagers in my house when I’m anticipating my retirement.  Of course, I also need to consider whether I am willing to do it alone, because it seems that all the men my age who genuinely WANT to be husbands and fathers already ARE husbands and fathers.

In the meantime, though, while I decide, I will continue to babysit cute little Matthew as long as his parents need my help (or until the elusive perfect job comes my way).  Maybe I’ll even start reading War and Peace to him... or maybe that will have to wait with the French food.  At least I can use my babysitting money to buy a new pair of jeans.

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