Thursday, November 8, 2012

Older Than You Think I Am

I live with my parents.  I have for a while, for good reasons I won't get into again in this post.  In the ward directory, I am listed separately from them with my own phone number.  People new to the ward might look at the directory and see two parents and two daughters in the same house and, without knowing the situation or meeting us, assume we're in our late teens or early twenties.  It's a fair mistake.  After all, when my siblings and I had moved out or were going to singles wards, a new couple in my parents' ward thought they were childless because they never saw them with children at church!  We all got a kick out of that one.  Again, a fair mistake.

I had an odd moment a couple of months ago:  a new family in our ward called me while I was at work.  I didn't answer because I didn't recognize the number, but I checked my voicemail as I was leaving the building.  It was the father in this new little family, asking me to babysit their two children so he and his wife could attend ward temple night.  He said that some of the young women weren't available and hoped I would be.  I was taken aback.  It's been several years since someone besides family has asked me to watch their kids.  I think the last time I did any babysitting was when I was 19 or 20 and doing overnights so the parents could go on vacation.  It was such an odd question that I didn't even know what to say when I called him back.  I joked with my parents that he couldn't afford my hourly rate, but I really didn't want to embarrass him because I understood that he'd never met me and had no idea how old I was.

When I called him back, I got his voicemail and just said that I hadn't planned on attending ward temple night and that I didn't get home from work until after 5, but that I would be happy to watch his kids if they couldn't find someone else.  I didn't say anything about money because I wouldn't have wanted them to pay me--it would be a service on my part if they wanted me.

I never heard back, and it's never come up in subsequent interactions with them.  I think they figured out that I was a little bit older and it might be weird to ask me to watch their kids.  They're a great couple and their kids are adorable; I'm perfectly willing should they need me.  I don't think they will.

As many experiences like this as I've had, I really shouldn't be disconcerted that people assume I have a lot of free time and don't have a "real" job just because I'm single and live at home...and yet I am always a little taken aback at the assumptions.  I've learned to chuckle at it, help where I can, and be as kind as possible.  It wouldn't be fair of me to assume they know my life.


Roxie said...

It was always interesting to me how many people thought I had a ton of spare time because I was single, even when I lived on my own. When quite often the exact opposite was true. Nobody cleaned the house while I was at work and nobody earned money while I cleaned the house. I had to cover it all on my own.