Here are Patti and Eli at the beginning of their night:
Eliana had her first babysitter last night, not including Hattie of course. Eliana’s babysitter is one of her Sunday school teachers. She is almost 15 and her name is Patti. This of course means JW and I had our very first official date night. Yes, we waited almost 15 months for our first date night! That’s on me (I’m sure you guessed) because it wasn’t until now that I felt both ready for it and comfortable with the idea.
Patti did not become Eli’s first babysitter overnight. Eliana has been in Patti’s class for about 7 months. At first we noticed how much Patti liked Eliana on Sunday mornings. Then we ran into her and a friend at a yogurt shop the day we went house hunting. Eliana seemed to like Patti just as much. At that point we started talking about the possibility of asking Patti to babysit. Patti always has a smile and kind words Sunday morning and for those who participate in Sunday Rush Hour, you understand how wonderful that is!
We set up the date this week, talked to Patti and her mom about scheduling, payment, etc. When Patti showed up last night Eli didn’t recognize her immediately but was very happy when I handed her off. Eli rode on Patti’s hip like they have been BFFs forever! When we left, Eli whimpered but didn’t scream and neither did I!
I was a little nervous but I felt pretty confident in my instructions to Patti and being an avid texter, I knew Patti was only a text away! JW and I were having a great time and during dessert I got a wonderful text from Patti telling me all the fun Eliana and her were having on the couch watching Nemo!
Who texts updates to mothers on a date? Wonderful babysitters that’s who! At that point, I wondered who was really on a fun date…Dada and Mama or Eli and Patti?
The movie we saw was both funny and disgusting but for some reason I love Steve Carrell! It was good for our marriage to be Eli-free for a night but during the movie I did miss her.
When we got home Patti told us how the rest of the night went and that’s not all she did. I had not left any ‘tidying up’ instructions because I didn’t want her to feel overwhelmed with anything and because I wouldn’t require that of a babysitter but Patti had tidied up the kitchen, and the dining room and the playroom and the laundry room too!
What kind of teenager behaves like this?! A teenager who loves Jesus that’s who! As I drove Patti home we talked and Patti shared her most recent “God moment” (as she calls it) with me. If I’m telling the truth, I would say I fought back tears as she spoke. But if I’m gonna lie to you I will say that I listened like a grown-up to her story.
Back to the truth, I think I was emotional because I was not like Patti when I was 14 years old. In fact I was lost, without Jesus and very sad. I was also emotional because I never imagined how much encouragement my heart could receive from listening to an almost 15 year-old share her love of God. And if that were not enough to make a mother weep, I also felt a surge of hope in my heart that my baby girl can also become a godly teenager.
It’s not that I lack faith in God to accomplish this miracle or that I think Eli is not godly already ☺, it’s just that I had not gotten so close to the phenom that a godly teenager is in 2010! I thought “A Godly Teenager in 2010” was an urban myth.
If you work in a youth ministry, you probably think I’m a weirdo. I’m not a weirdo. I am just a former elementary school teacher and current pre-school Sunday teacher. I just don’t know a lot of teenagers outside of the movies.
As I write I am still in awe of how good God is to have blessed Eliana with a friend like Patti. For God to provide a sweet girl of God to care for my baby girl of God shows how intimately acquainted He really is with all of our ways. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. Psalm 139:3 Only God knows just how much I care for Eli's well-being, which is why from His grace He has blessed us to know Patti.
Glory to God for godly girls who love little baby girls! JW and I were so amazed at Patti that JW made me ask Patti’s mom, “How do we raise Eli so she is like Patti?” Isn’t that funny? Her answer: Pray a lot. A lot. And JW should take Eli out on regular dates. Hmmmm, what will I do with all those wonderuful 'Mami nights'???