It was over three years ago when I babysat DJ and Kevin for the first time. They lived across the street, but I hadn't ever spent substantial time with them. I figured it would be one more way to earn a couple bucks, and nothing more. I could not have been more wrong. Never in my life have I met two kids raised to be so moral, fun-loving, hilarious, and adorable.
Over the next three years, life had its ups and downs. Heartbreak. Excommunicated from the only group of friends I'd known. Parents divorced. At times, life was a darkened abyss, and it seemed I walked alone.
But when I felt as though I had no one and nothing in my life to cherish, I could always look forward to babysitting. Their home became my safe place, a perfect haven that always smelled like apple pie and always felt warm with abundant love. The love of children is unconditional, and they taught me that in such a short time. They don't judge you for the way you look or where you come from or just how dorky you actually are. They taught me to be spontaneous and fun, they helped me to break down the walls I'd built up around myself, open up, let loose, laugh hysterically, and be downright crazy. Our silly games became a perfect distraction from whatever outside forces were weighing me down. For a little while, happiness and I could coexist. Their parents too have accepted me into their family and have given their home to me whenever I have needed to escape. Kind words and open arms have never meant so much, and I have never been so comfortable in a place other than my own house. They changed everything for me and have opened so many doors to help me turn my life around. I can say with honesty that I have never been so happy, and I can say with honesty that none of it would have ever come to fruition without my "second family." Babysitting is no longer a distraction from my life, it is such an enormous part of it, and only enhances how wonderful my life has become. I am truly blessed in many ways, and eternally grateful for them all. I love them with everything I have, because they have taught me what it is like to love.