I have a confession to make. It has been more than a year since I began writing about my experiences in caring for my grandniece Kiley. Every Monday for the past fifty-two weeks I have posted a new offering describing my thoughts, feelings and interactions with a little girl as she grew from six weeks to one year old. Being exposed to Kiley on a daily basis made me think about all kinds of wide ranging subjects and I wrote about them too - baby related topics like naps, baby food, SIDS, milk, security blankets, diapers, car-seats, and many others, and topics not so obviously related to small children like swimming, summer, dreams, flying, snow, dust mites, and even the Battle of New Orleans in the War of 1812. A little girl who had crept into my life and made a comfy nest there inspired all of these things. Don’t let anyone ever tell you that childcare is drudgery that does not engage the mind and imagination.
cared for Kiley’s mother and aunts when they were young children the way I care for Kiley now. Those years, when they were small and an everyday part of my life contain some of my most cherished memories, but because they were so young they don’t remember any of it now that they are adults. So when I began writing these little essays about Kiley and me, I did it out of a desire to leave her a chronicle of our time together. Not so much a day to day account of what transpired, but rather a memory of us, so that she could look back many years from now and have a glimpse of the way we were and the way it felt when we were together.
I decided to turn those writings into a blog, I wanted to convey the feeling of adventure and new beginnings that I felt when I undertook the responsibility of looking after another little person just new to the world. And so I began at the beginning, describing my excitement and trepidation at the prospect of once again looking after a little one and helping to mold and shape her mind and spirit. The first year of those posts, my blog to date, correlate to the first year of Kiley’s life up to her first birthday and the announcement that her mother was expecting her second child in August, a second charge for me to look after on a daily basis. Though everything I wrote about actually happened from the time she was born to the time of her first birthday, that first birthday didn’t happen this January, it happened two years ago. Kiley isn’t one year old she is actually three. On top of that, the second child referred to as being due in August was actually born eighteen months ago (in August). It’s a girl! Kiley’s little sister. Her name is McKinley. We call her Mackey and she joined Kiley as part of my daily responsibilities when she was six weeks old. Together, the three of us have had many adventures and I want to relate them while they are still fresh in my mind. And so, I am pushing the reset button and starting anew. Kiley is three years old, Mackey is eighteen months, I am fifty-nine, and let’s take it from there. Kiley and Me and Mackey makes three. I hope you don’t mind my little deception too much. There was no evil intent, I assure you. Below is a small montage of the last three years, just to give you an idea of what I am up against. The pictures are of Kiley and Mackey but none are of me. I don’t take a good picture, and besides, I am of the firm belief that by taking one’s photograph you can steal their soul and I still have a need for mine, so….