College Essay

January 13, 2009
By Danielle McConnohie, Nashotah, WI

Imagine being a single mother with a ten month old daughter. What if you had to work full time in order to provide a normal lifestyle for your child, but you couldn’t even afford daycare. When I realized my 26- year- old cousin, Theresa, was in this situation my heart started to ache; I wanted to change the world for her, or at least make hers seem less suffocating. I offered to babysit my smiley little cousin all summer, while Theresa worked.
The first week I got Lauryn, she was a mess. Her nose was so stuffed up she needed her mouth open to breath. Her eyes watered non-stop from her ongoing coughing. Throughout that week she cried every second. I didn’t have a minute to rest. Not once did I see that cute smile come across her chubby face. I tended to her every hour on the hour, until her mom came and picked her up. I was so unbelievably tired, I could barely function. And that was only the first week.
The worse part of it all was that my friends were actually enjoying their summer and all I could think was... What have I gotten myself into? The next night when Theresa came to pick up Lauryn, she saw the exestuation in my eyes. The smile on her face fell to a concerned look. “You know, if this is too much for you, I can always put her in daycare.”
At that moment, I realized day in and day out, Theresa goes from a full day of work, to tending to her baby at night. My tiredness doesn’t compare to what she goes through. I knew my weakness needed to change into strength. The only way to do that was to face the challenge ahead of me.

“No Theresa, I can handle it…I promise.” The next couple weeks went by, and things seemed to be getting easier. I instantly started to pick up on Lauryn’s everyday schedule. It soon became second nature to me; I knew every moment she needed to be fed and changed; to playing and naptime. The smiley Lauryn I once knew was back.
Having to change weeks in my life around Lauryn’s every need, took more than just time. It took patience. When it comes to babies you never know how they’re going react from one moment to the next. Lauryn reminded me that you can’t just walk away from tough situations in your life; you have to learn to face and deal with the obstacles ahead of you, for there will be many to come.
On my last week of summer, I was out with a group of my girlfriends. We were all sharing the exciting things we did these last three months.
“The lake by far was the best part.”
“Well personally; I thought the parties were all pretty great!”
“No way, camping was definitely the most fun!”
Hearing all of these events made my summer seem dull. But honestly, it was the farthest thing from dull. I watched Lauryn all summer long without getting paid a dime. Many would say I’m crazy for wasting my summer, but in the end, I was given something greater than money. I was given the chance to make life, a little less complicated.

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