Met my bride in 1979, been married for 42 years, as of 12 days ago, so today marks 43, April 2nds we’ve celebrated together, resulting in 43, actually 42 (the 43rd coming later today, with a nice dinner and some time spent out together) special celebrations on this date. Today marks the anniversary of the day Sally entered this world, a day that’s made a huge impact on the lives of so many she’s touched.
After we married (1980), Sally worked outside home, sometimes two jobs, and even in ’80, she worked the US Census too. Being a teacher with a salary, at that time just a little over $ 10,000, I had to work summers to supplement our income, but that year, I was finishing up my Masters ‘Degree at SUNY Fredonia, taking multiple classes, so I couldn’ t work. Sally took on the Census gig, to keep us barely in the black. (When I think of what it took to support a family of four on about $ 15,000 combined, it seemed impossible / remarkable. That always makes me wonder how our parents made ends meet with my family of six, sometimes seven when my aunt stayed with us , and again when my parents raised a friend’s daughter, who’s still considered our sister in our hearts. Then, I think of Sally’s parents who raised their five children too, both of our families making far less than Sally’s and my combined income in the early eighties.)
When our girls were in their early grades, with both of us working, and me coaching too, and because we lived on the same side of town as my parents, the girls walked to grandma’s and grandpa’s house after school, until Sally got out of work. It was great that my folks could / would do this to help us out, but we began to think that rather than Sally having to balance multiple jobs, my parents having to make concessions to their schedules to be there after school for the girls, maybe Sally could do some babysitting in our home. This could make it so my folks could have that after school time back to do what they needed or wanted to do, and for the girls to be able to come home to a parent there, making sure homework was done, etc., and meant Sally could work in our house, but also meant working with no Salary perks, (insurance, sick days, etc.,) and also meant having to file her babysitting income with the government, which we did. On the other side it meant, someone would be home to take care of our kids if they were sick, or if there was a holiday from school, or snow day too. Looking back, the pros far outweighed the cons, as while the girls were in school, and after Jon was born, all our kids had someone waiting at home after they were dismissed from school.
Two of the earliest kids Sally babysat were daughters of our friends, so the start was easy. Sally watched them in our home, and things went very smoothly. Our friends spoke highly of Sally’s talents, and soon the phone began to ring asking if she had a spot for their child. Her babysitting became pretty popular. It was like the children she babysat were receiving the same kind of care their own mothers would be giving if their children were home with them. Sally also provided times for arts and crafts, and indoor / outdoor playtime. Each child in her charge had a proper place to take naps, there were toys to play with, and time made for the kids to sing and dance with the TV off. It was like the kids were being watched by their own mom, then grandma.
Through time, Sally’s changed things, cut numbers, but is still doing what she’s done so extremely well. She’s watching two little ones right now, one our great-niece, and is still doing arts / crafts, sing-a-longs, dancing, letting kids play as children should do daily, using their imaginations, learning manners, how to get along , and learning right from wrong too. Many of the children babysat through the years, got a lot of their P-training in our homes, and she even watched second generations of children she watched.
Whenever she stops, there will be many children who will remember, “Pick up, pick up, everyone, it’s time to pick up,” and “Itsy bitsy spider,” and “The wheels on the bus go round and round.” I venture there’ll be just as many parents who will feel fortunate their children spent their early years with, Miss Sally.
In the meantime, for our kids and many others too, you made the right decision those years ago, and on this, your special day, we all say, Happy Birthday, to you, Miss Sally!
PS I’m so very proud of you.