Sometimes big girls pretend, too,
Romanticizing daily tasks.

Four sick children, three boys and a girl,
In my care for a day.
I don’t drink coffee much
But the oldest boy wants to make some
And I haven’t a good enough reason
To tell him no.
My sister tells me I will spoil my children.

Breakfast time:
Eggs? Oatmeal? Both?
I scramble eggs with a small boy
Clinging to my back.
My sister says I will spoil my children.

Everyone dressed, out to ride bikes
And explore and pick flowers,
With a lesson in road safety.
“Miss Darcy, can we go to your house?”
“We’ll wait till this afternoon.”
Back inside to play
Dishes in the kitchen want attention.
The keyboard plays music,
“If You’re Happy and You Know It,”
Over and over again.
So I sing and clap and stomp my feet,
To the children’s delight and surprise,
With a dish towel in my hands.

The little girl colors,
The boys play with toys.
Soon we’re cutting hearts
From paper napkins.
One napkin becomes a cootie-catcher
To nip little toes
And kiss little noses.
“Miss Darcy, can we go to your house?”
“Not till a while after lunch.”

Pizza for lunch.
“No, not just bread-sticks.”
Then, next thing to punishment–
Quiet time for an hour.
The Food Network for background noise,
“Not so loud, please, boys.”
Baby sleeps at last.
I read a book to the others softly.
We watch the minute hand on my wristwatch
As it slowly ticks off the time.
Blocks are quiet toys,
But a little sharing must be enforced.
“Miss Darcy, can we go to your house now?”
“We will go after Chris wakes up.”

Parents home early.
“But I promised we would go to my house.”
“No problem; they can go.”
Only Anna comes.
At my house she paints
With watercolors
A picture for our wall.
I paint her fingernails
And carry her back home.
My sister insists I will spoil my children.

I’m paid for this, of course;
Extravagantly, too.
But my reward goes far beyond:
Four precious small lives
Impressing themselves on mine.
I would not trade today
For a week of fashionable fun.
Because this is real life,
Eternity-touching life.

And I will not spoil my children.
I will love them, love them, love them.
Love never spoiled anyone.

-Miss Darcy


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