For nearly two hours, a woman sat in my living room perched on an old hassock and allowed my daughter to draw all over her. Perhaps I should add that this woman is my daughter’s godmother, and she’d volunteered to make an “appointment” with the artist after seeing an Instagrammed photo of my new body art.
If that’s not love, I’m not quite sure what is.
It’s the kind of love that kids can only get from one type of person: someone who is childfree.
Sorry haters, but it has to be said.
There is the love of the parent. There is the love of the extended family. There is the love of a friend. Then there is the love of someone who does not have their own children (for whatever reason) but who is fully committed to giving your child a happy evening.
Every kid needs one of those people in their lives. Even if they see them only every few months … because, really, one needs to recuperate after allowing themselves to be a human jungle gym/artist’s canvas/etc.
We parents give plenty to our kids. Food in their stomachs. Clothes on their backs. Timeout when they’re mouthy. Cuddles on the couch.
But we’re exhausted. We have shit to do. And sometimes we forget the simple pleasure of being a kid bossing around an adult.
I’m her mother, and I gave up on being a human canvas after a flaming heart crayoned on one arm (I should note these were special body art crayons from a craft kit), a giant version of me that spread from the tip of my middle and index fingers past my wrist, one lightning bolt, and the word Mom. Her father had already had his go at being the canvas the night before, and he was out (literally, he was at work when the artist set up shop yesterday … I had the day off).
But when Aunt Megan offered to come over, her face lit up brighter than a jar full of fireflies. First she created the notice for our front door: “artist in living room.” Then she pushed the hassock over nearest the entrance to the living room with a sign that read “wait here.”
Then, after donning an apron and a sideways painter’s cap, she set herself up in her playroom, nose pressed to the window facing our driveway, and waited, as patiently as a 7-year-old with big things on the horizon can wait, for her aunt to arrive.
Over the course of two hours, my daughter covered her godmother’s face, hands, upper arm, chest (around the neck), calf, and even the bottom of the foot with “tattoos.” She made her wear a belt — first around her face, then around her wrists. She subjected her to being videoed on my iPad (the fact that said video will never make it to Facebook shows how much I appreciate Megan’s sacrifice here). And after making her wait around until after she’d taken her shower, she begged Aunt Megan to be the one to take her to bed.
And through it all, this woman who does not have children complied.
Because she has the energy. Because she loves my daughter.
I have other friends, friends with kids who love my daughter, who would do for my daughter. But it’s different. They have their own kids making these sort of outlandish requests already. They have their own kids to attend to during the two-hour span it takes to completely cover someone’s body in body crayon. They have the patience of a parent.
It’s the childfree friends like Megan, like Jill’s beloved uncles, who will throw themselves on the stake just to make our kids happy.
So how about instead of bashing the people who don’t have kids all the time, we start appreciating them for the way they love our kids … the way we can’t?
Does your kid have an amazing childfree person in their life? Tell me about ’em.
Have you “liked” Inside Out Motherhood on Facebook yet?