I've been feeling a little homesick lately. On and off for a few weeks, but yesterday I went into Chapters to see if I could find gifts for my youngest brother and sister and I got really, really sad. Partly because Chapters is roughly equivalent to Barnes & Noble, and we spent a good chunk of time in those stores growing up. Partly because I realized I no longer know what kinds of books my siblings read, really. I have a good idea for my sister, because she's a voracious reader like I was and will enjoy anything with a good story, but I haven't picked a book for my brother since he was reading Diary of a Wimpy Kid and Magic Treehouse, and now he's 14. Kind of puts a kink in the works, but I didn't realize it until I was staring at shelves of books. I might have cried; I've never been so overwhelmed by bookshelves in my life.
I've also been thinking a lot about the Other Kids, the ones that were kinda-sorta-almost part of my family growing up. They were Daytime Kids, the ones my mom took care of while their parents were at work so she could afford to stay home with us, and them. There were many of them, but I've just been thinking hard about how those Daytime Kids influenced my life. I have my own Daytime Kids now, though I'm part of their lives for a briefer time. I've taken care of about 15 different Daytime Kids myself. It's a weird professional boundary to talk about, dealing with Daytime Kids. Sometimes I feel guilty offering parenting suggestions (never ever advice) or responding to questions because I haven't had my own 24/7 Kids and I recognize the distinct differences there, but I've had those 15 Daytime Kids and I do know some stuff. The bigger thing, though, is the fact that I love those kids. Not the way I love my family or the way I'm sure their parents love them, but they matter to me. I want them to be well, I want to have contributed something good to their lives. I've written about trying to find balance in a caring profession before, and I know I'm not alone. People aren't supposed to admit that they form bonds with those in their care, but how can we care for them if we don't? I feel weird even talking about it, honestly, because I know it's almost taboo. I just don't really understand why that should be. Why is feeling affection for someone something to be ashamed of? Granted, there's a line to be respected, and I do respect it. But on the safe side of that line is a lot of room for love. I don't like pretending there isn't.
I'm not really sure where I'm going with this. Nowhere, probably; it's mostly just pouring thoughts out, and really I need to be doing a little bit of cleaning--at least the bathroom and floors--before company gets here this afternoon. But yesterday had a lot of feelings on a lot of things, and I'm not sure what's next.