When our kids were small, Cliff and I were young and foolish and had no idea how quickly life passes by, or how fast children grow up. We loved and enjoyed our two babies, of course, but we were far too worried about what other people might think of them: After all, we had seen our share of bratty kids, and we certainly didn't intend to raise little monsters. Years later after they were grown I wished I had taken more time to just enjoy them and not worried about what anybody thought. Infancy is so brief! The toddler years are over in a heartbeat! Oh, if only...
And then, years later, Cora appeared in our lives. If she cried, I held her or rocked her. Once she was old enough to want us to play with her, all she has had to do is ask. Cliff and I are both "stove up" (an expression my parents used to use) with arthritis, so it is no easy task for either of us to get down in the floor to play with the Little People and their house, school bus, and barns, or with toddler-sized Legos. But if we aren't doing something urgent the moment Cora asks, we get down there and play. Getting up is even harder... there is much rolling around on the floor to get into a proper position, accompanied with moaning and groanings. And yet, when she pats the floor with her hand and says "Pay wis me," we are right back down there.
And it's worth every bit of it.
Because the child's dad works construction, we don't have her nearly as much in winter, but never a week goes by that she doesn't spend a day with us, because we beg for her (no charge, of course... we would probably pay them, if that were the only way we could see her).
Cora is our chance, possibly our last chance, to just rejoice and revel in a kid's childhood. Every hug is a gift, and she is very free with her hugs.
Yesterday I was thinking how appropriate it is that Jesus appeared as a baby. No wonder angels sang at His birth. Every time Cora's smiling face appears at our door, I am happy enough to break into song!
Would we do this again, take on an infant to babysit? As long as we have Cora around, no. One child at a time is enough for me. But once she leaves our care, if my health didn't fail me, I would certainly be willing to try it again if I were given the chance, and I'm fairly certain Cliff would agree. Besides, we have all these toys! Who would play with them if there's no kid around?
I've found that having Cora in our lives has been the best thing about our retirement.