From Chicken Soup for the Mother of Preschooler's Soul

Hire Calling

Sons are the anchors of a mother’s life.


Cuddled beside me on the couch, Donnie asked, “Mommy, what will you do while I’m away at preschool?”

“I’ll probably cry my eyes out and eat every M&M in the house . . . then I’ll wait for you to run home!” I teased.

Seeing the frown on his face, I assured him I was kidding and would bake cookies instead, so we would have something to munch on while he told me about his first day.

Because my husband was overseas, I walked Don by myself. Fighting tears, I kissed him good-bye.

He gave me a big hug. “Don’t worry, Mommy, I’ll be home soon. I know you’ll be okay!”

Time crawled while I got some cookies in the oven, straightened the house and . . . waited. I was at loose ends when I glanced at the clock and realized he’d only been gone forty minutes.

Then someone knocked at the door. A woman about my age stood there with a big smile on her face. “Are you Donnie’s mom?”

“Yes,” I whispered, gripping the doorknob tight as my mind imagined all sorts of dire things.

“I’m Marilyn,” she chuckled. “I met Donnie at the playground yesterday. When I told him I live only a few doors from here, he paid me a quarter to stay with you during his first day at school.” She dropped a lazy wink. “He thought you might get lonesome and said for me to be sure you didn’t eat all the M&Ms.”

I smiled back. “So, he gave you his quarter instead of the ice-cream man!”

After sharing some laughs, a couple cups of coffee and only a few M&Ms with my new friend, I realized my son was growing up, ready or not. After all, he’d interviewed, hired—and paid for—a “Mommy Sitter.”

Avagail Burton

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