It’s been almost 6 months now that my job is to look after a 6-year-old boy. What I love about my job, among many things, is that during the day the boy (aka Ben) is at school. You have read me correctly, I have to look after one child who is at school every day! My work hours are a bit different than other people, if not exactly the opposite hours. It is because of this fantastic job that I can do plenty of things like keeping a blog, because it gives me time to write, but also by keeping me focused on the important stuff. You see I tend to overthink and to dramatize my life, but when I have a conversation with Ben things fall back into order.
- Animals matter
It’s 3.15pm and I’m at school to pick up Ben (It is real French readers, in England school finishes at 3.15!!) and he throws his coat at me and exclaims with a high pitched and slightly too loud voice : “Did you know that some dogs can be as big as horses?” to what I answer “do you mean normal-size horses or small-size horses?” and here begins our after school conversation, which every day puts me back into the right mood. Maybe I had been spending the day reading the papers and it was quite despairing but that question, that horse-related question, it is exactly what I needed to hear.
We’re walking home and today Ben is riding his scooter. Every 10 meters (feel free to convert it into miles in your leisure time) Ben pretends to involuntary falls on the grass and roll over. When I tell him “You can stop rolling over on the grass now, why do you do that?” he replies “Because it makes you smile and laugh.” That statement awakens my optimism, if a boy can pretend to fall on the grass to make his nanny laugh, anything is possible.
- Animals again
It’s 7.30 am and Ben is almost ready to go to school, he is lacing his shoes and I am waiting for him. He looks up at me with a thoughtful look and I inquire curiously “What are you thinking of Ben?” with the same look he replies “Do you think ostriches have eyes that are bigger than their brains?” His question leaves me speechless and I suggest to ask Google which only confirms Ben’s lacing shoe revelation. Whatever I may be thinking that morning, all day I will smile at the thought of what goes through a child’s mind.
I like eating alone. It may sounds cold-hearted, but I prefer eating alone than with people. Most of social activities involve food and I enjoy them but I dream that one day we won’t need the excuse of a meal to have a nice conversation. I have a dream that one day we’ll be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood and it won’t be about food. But sharing dinner with Ben is different. Silence is not awkward, awkward doesn’t even exist for a child! With Ben silence is the rule at dinner. We only talk if really it can’t wait until after dinner. One of the things Ben told me that he felt so important that he broke his exemplary silence is “Broccolis look like little trees” and it was worth every word of it.
I’m writing the shopping list. Ben asks:
– How many reindeers santa has?
– 8 I think.
– add 8 carrots to the list please.
Maybe that day I was thinking that whatever I cook Ben is going to give me an ungrateful “aaa yuki” but his response tells me that what Ben really wants is not a meal that is both healthy and yummy, Ben wants Santa’s reindeers to have a carrot each!
Random things that Ben firmly asserted as truth and made my question my convictions:
“I don’t care what the teacher says the chicken was jelly fish.”
“I am warmer without a coat because this is a wind coat.”
“It is tricky to understand but mice actually are baby rats.”
“Did you know that Chess was invented a hundred years ago by an English man who thought draughts were a bit boring?”
Ben can even challenge my faith. Before dinner Ben and I pray the prayer that he says at school, which, according to Ben goes like this : “God is good, God is great, so we thank Him for our food, thank Him morning till the night, till boogies are out of sight. Amen”
I have been trying to tell Ben that I am unsure about the last line but Ben gave me the assurance that if God created boogie, we should pray for it too.
To this little man I say, Thank you. Thank you to remind me of the important stuff.