Nonfiction

Leave the Kid, Take the Guitars

Babysitting for a divorcing couple should come with hazard pay

Dr. Casey Lawrence
The Memoirist
Published in
8 min readMay 26, 2023

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Photo of the author circa 2012, taken on a Blackberry flip phone

When I was seventeen years old, I started working for a young mom, Mandy, with a two-year-old son. Mandy and little Ethan lived in a Bungalow on Sunnylea Drive, right around the corner from my childhood home.

Mandy’s husband Jeff worked for an oil company out in Alberta and was gone nine months of the year. The job paid well enough, she assured me, to make the sacrifice worth it. He came home every couple of months for a weekend visit.

Mandy worked as a drugstore clerk and hired me to babysit her toddler after the daycare closed at 3:00 until she got home at 6:00. Sometimes, she would ask me to stay late on Friday or Saturday night so she could go out.

It was a good gig, and I loved the kid. Ethan was sweet, inquisitive, and very funny. He loved animals and singing karaoke with a bright pink toy microphone that made his voice echo.

A photo of three-year-old “Ethan’s” toy animals playing “piggy-back,” taken by the author

Ethan turned three, and was a bright kid who very much should have been potty trained already. When a child can tell you in full sentences that he…

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Dr. Casey Lawrence
The Memoirist

Canadian author of three LGBT YA novels. PhD from Trinity College Dublin. Check out my lists for stories by genre/type.