Tracy Townsend is a news reporter and anchor with 10TV News HD.
What a difference a year makes: Last January I remember writing about my family's great fortune in finding a babysitter who has become like a member of the family. One year later, we still hold her in high regard and enjoy having her sit with Ian - when her schedule allows. A funny thing happened last spring: she graduated from college and joined the real world of work. My husband and I sort of "forgot" this day would be coming.
Our sitter's life transition has required us to do some growing up, too. Namely, we have to find another person to fill the void. As many of you know, that is no easy task. I have long secretly envied my friends who rarely, if ever, seem to have babysitting crises because they can call on family members, especially grandparents.
Calling on your parents with a request for help with child care can be tricky. In our case, the paternal and maternal grandparents are retired but live out of town - in Indianapolis and Cincinnati respectively.
The care comes at no charge but depending on your perspective, there is a "price." We pay in patience as both our mothers freely share their opinions on how Ian is being raised, disciplined, fed, educated and clothed.
The good news is Murvin and I don't have any problems entrusting Ian to our parents. Between the two couples, seven children have been raised, earned college degrees, and are gainfully employed and good citizens.
There is something, though, that happens once they became grandparents. Quite frankly, they've come to embrace being the "Grands." It's as if they've acquired a license to do what they want, forget what they used to say and reinvent rules for children. Whether it's allowing Ian to eat with abandon at a certain Mexican fast-food restaurant or taking him to a big-box toy store to pick out anything he "needs," both his paternal and maternal grandparents are guilty of overindulging him.
I could complain about them spoiling Ian but the reality is they are spending precious time with him and creating a lifetime of memories. Sure, I will absolutely need to find another babysitter here in town - and soon. My mother constantly reminds me that, while she loves to help me with Ian, it's not like she lives next door. Her services require some planning and a full tank of gas for the two-hour drive from Cincinnati to Columbus.
But the benefit of knowing my child is in the care of the woman who taught me what a gift it is to be a parent is absolutely priceless.
-Tracy Townsend is a news reporter and anchor with 10TV News HD.