I believe in taking a swig of the lemon juice. Connor and I know exactly how it tastes. Our babysitter, Marilyn, always encouraged us to laugh in the face of the sourness.
We were young. Connor and I were about five-years-old when we got our first permanent babysitter. My mother and step-father would go off to work while Tyler went to third grade. The two of us were in kindergarten and only had half a day of school in the morning. Marilyn would come over in the afternoon.
Marilyn was familiar, yet unusual character to us. She had long, black hair and was quite a bit overweight. She wore huge shirts and sweat pants almost everyday, even when it was warm out. The best thing of all was she had a contagious laugh and a teeth-baring smile that was irreplaceable. The only thing that mattered to Connor and me, however, was that she was like a best friend to us.
She always had a new adventure for us everyday when we got home from kindergarten. Some days she would take us outside to the playground behind our house. Some days she would help us find the perfect honey suckle in our yard to suck the sweet nectar out of. Other times she would let us “drive” her car, which was actually involved us only touching the steering wheel while she was in total control. We occasionally ventured to Dairy Queen for a frozen treat or jumped down our staircase only to land in a soft canopy of pillows at the bottom. Marilyn would even let us do things that were forbidden by our mother and then we would keep it a giggling secret when she arrived home.
The one thing that Connor and I both looked forward to every day above everything else was the breathtakingly hilarious competition of who could keep their face from puckering the longest after taking a swig from the 100% lemon juice bottle that was always present in the refrigerator.
Connor and I would gleefully squeal as we slowly let the lemon juice dribble into our mouths. Then, we would daringly stare into each other’s eyes. With Marilyn refereeing, we would narrow our watering eyes and shrivel up our little noses. Eventually we would both give in and pucker our lips, frantically rubbing our tongues to try and rid our body of the sourness.
Marilyn never declared a true winner. She said it was a tie every time. She wanted us both to feel on top of the world, which I never realized back then. Now, however, I am grateful for what she did.
I am very glad that Marilyn was my babysitter because she influenced the character I proudly possess today. She taught me to accept others for who they are and to not be judgmental. Above everything else, Marilyn showed me how to take life one step at a time and taught me to never hold anything back. Live life to the fullest. This I believe.