It's so easy to fold myself into the lives of young families without a thought about how it affects my marriage. There always seems to be so much need when there are children to be minded and minds to be molded. With the particular parents about whom I'm speaking, I know how carefully they choose with whom they entrust their children. The parents ask for me to help safeguard their young, and I am honored beyond belief. This leads to me often saying, "Yes" without thinking, leaving Richard in the lurch wanting for a wife to share a grown-up life.
I've never really enjoyed babies or babysitting, except when Richard was around to enforce order. He's a wonder to behold when a baby is upset, no matter the age of the baby. His center of calm seems to infuse whoever he's with. One of my favorite moves is to put a toddler in his care while I fix supper. He'll build a fort around the child, keeping the child so mesmerized that they forget to fuss. There's always a pay-off at the end, like busting down the tower, or frozen confections for all.
Screaming babies put in his lap are generally cooing in a matter of minutes. One of our infant nephews, as a breast-fed baby was inconsolable every time his mother left him. He used to comfort himself by sucking on Richard's thumb as they watched television together.
We have a whole new crop of kids coming up, most of the male persuasion. I hope I can convince Richard that he really wants to hang out with the boys after hanging out with the "boys." After a day of boat building, I hope he's ready for doing more than sitting on the sofa with the young men in training to be daddies. I hope he's up for enticing them to help with the baby boys.
I miss the days of cooking with kids playing in my line of sight. We even had a wall taken out of one of our houses to enable this experience. If only I'd asked Richard to bring his hand-hewn "chick sticks," I'm sure I'd succeed in seducing Richard to recreate those moments. I think I may hear some brand new Lincoln Logs calling out to me...