When I stood at the edge of teenhood, I pined for being old enough to babysit. Mrs. Chaney took me under her wing and instructed me in the secrets of childcare.
She knew exactly how to tend to little ones. I watched her sooth the fussiest child and put to sleep the non-sleeper. She never had favorites; they were all her favorite. She oozed love in her tender touch and lullabies.
And it didn't stop with the little ones; she loved me too. She never raised her voice or panicked about my lack of knowledge. She instructed gently and kindly. She didn't humiliate me for not wanting to clean an extremely messy diaper, or wipe spit-up. Instead, she graciously held the most difficult child and allowed me the easy ones.
Eventually, I understood what she'd shown me by example. That all children are beautiful. All children need love. Even the messy. Even the difficult. Even me.