Don't Forget To Come Back
As a college professor and department head who found her
vocation keeping her away from her young daughters too much, my mother
did not enjoy going out to adult only soirees. An evening of cookie
baking and read alouds was much more to her taste. There were times,
though, when she absolutely had to go to an event where children were
persona non grata. I remember watching her, in her blue velvet good
dress, do up her hair and put on makeup. She would dab a little
Nefretiti (the one perfume she wore) behind my ears.
When I had children of my own my life was pretty much centered
around them. Not to mention that I was married to a very shy man and
residing in a municipality where I lived on the wrong side of the
tracks. My children did not have many babysitters.
In the in between years, however, I did plenty of babysitting
and a number of times encountered children who were somewhat reluctant
to be left at home with a total or relative stranger. Even though I
developed quite a number of rapport builders, sometimes I had to
improvise. My most memorable time was when two couples on vacation
paid me to watch their six young children who were overtired,
sunburned, and not pleased by the prospect of spending time with a not
the mother. Fortunately I had access to an empty apliance box,
scissors, crayons, and markers. By the time the adults returned it
was being transformed into a pirate ship.
Why this stroll down memory lane. Well recently I checked out
Robie H. Harris' Don't Forget to Come Back. Originally published in
1978, it was reissued in 2004. It is a most excellent read aloud for
a family anticipating a close encounter of the babysitter kind.
It is a reassuring message for children. The young protagonist
is not at all pleased that her parents are going out without her. She
tries all the tricks in her trade to sabotage the plan. When Silly
Sarah arrives, however, things go far better than she anticipated.
It's also a book with a message for parents. Just because you
know that, of course, you will come back does not guarantee your child
will find it that obvious. Individual children vary widely in the age
at which they are able to make this leap of faith. And any child who
is overtired, in a strange place, or coming down with something is
very capable of backsliding.
On a personal note, when I had tried out for The Evil Dead I had
discovered that I have a decent alto singing voice. Now I am taking
steps to develop it including joining my church choir and signing up
to sing on stage. It just goes to show you are never too old to
discover and develop a new talent.
A great big shout out goes out to everyone who retains the willingness
to explore new directions.
Julia Emily Hathaway
Sent from my iPod