A mother’s love

See our round-up of sto­ries about moms across the prov­ince

The Pilot - - Front Page - BY KRYSTA CAR­ROLL krys28@hot­mail.com

GRAND FALLS-WIND­SOR, N.L. –As the say­ing goes “sis­ters make the best of friends.”

This holds true for two sis­ters in Grand Falls-Wind­sor, and through their bond, other chil­dren who may not have been friends, are grow­ing friend­ships as well.

Denise Shep­pard and her sis­ter Diane Tay­lor grew up babysit­ting in Miller­town.

They have helped mold nu­mer­ous chil­dren into young men and women over the years, helped par­ents con­tinue work­ing, or go back to work, and have gained life-long hon­ourary fam­ily mem­bers in the process.

And now, they get to do this to­gether.

The duo took care of chil­dren when they were still chil­dren them­selves, start­ing when they were barely dou­ble dig­its.

Shep­pard even came to Grand Falls-Wind­sor as a live-in nanny get­ting paid $35 a week, and Tay­lor spent two sum­mers babysit­ting in Grand Falls-Wind­sor as well.

Tay­lor also spent time as a live-in nanny, for a fam­ily in Ed­mon­ton when she was 20.

The sis­ters, one two-and-ahalf years older than the other, were the two girls in a fam­ily of five chil­dren, and though close in age, they had their dif­fer­ences.

“We had dif­fer­ent friends, we had dif­fer­ent in­ter­ests,” Tay­lor said. “It’s only, I’d say, since Denise be­came a mother, that we got re­ally close.”

Shep­pard has two sons in their 30s.

“And no grand­chil­dren. That’s why I babysit maybe,” she said with a laugh.

Tay­lor has one son, and two grand­chil­dren, who spend every sec­ond week­end at her house.

Years of car­ing

Shep­pard said she took a break from babysit­ting when she was work­ing in St. John’s.

“I babysat a lit­tle girl that was less than a year old who had a lot of med­i­cal prob­lems,” Shep­pard said. “She had her first birth­day and then she passed away. So I went to work at A&W and worked there for five or six years.”

She has been babysit­ting since she moved back to Grand Fall­sWind­sor 12 years ago.

She was with her last fam­ily for sev­eral years, and her cur­rent one, with twins Ma­son and Claire Bur­ton, for three years.

While Shep­pard has al­ways come back to child­care, Tay­lor went to the op­po­site end of the spec­trum and did - and loved home­care for many years.

“I wasn’t babysit­ting as long as what Denise was be­cause I was do­ing home­care and I worked at se­niors homes for a few years,” she said. “I used to meet the girls (Shep­pard and her friends who are also child­care providers) at Mc­Don­alds be­fore I would have to go to work, and I used to laugh at them and call them the babysit­ters club. I don’t want to be in the babysit­ters club I used to say.”

Tay­lor re­cently went back to babysit­ting when a year ago Shep­pard heard of a fam­ily in need of child­care, and told her sis­ter about it.

“I said maybe I will try babysit­ting, I will get to spend more time with my sis­ter,” Tay­lor said. She agreed to meet the fam­ily.

“As soon as I walked in through the door, Reese was jump­ing up in my arms,” Tay­lor said. “I had to fall in love with them right away. I said I can tell you right now I’ll babysit for you. I didn’t even have to think about it.”

And they haven’t looked back since.

“We are to­gether all week with the kids, not very of­ten are we apart,” Tay­lor said. “We al­ways do things to­gether, but still at 5:40 p.m. I have to call my sis­ter.”

They be­gin their day to­gether as well, with a 5:30 a.m. walk, and by 8 a.m. on week­ends Tay­lor is call­ing her sis­ter for a chat.

“We got a life­time of mem­o­ries to talk about,” Shep­pard said.

The sis­ters take Ma­son and Claire, as well as Reese and Anna Ash, who Tay­lor cares for, out to­gether every week­day, whether it be to the Fam­ily Mo­ments Re­source Cen­tre, TUFF, Mc­Don­alds, to a play­ground, or for a walk.

“We get to­gether at the kids’ homes if it’s not a nice day,” Tay­lor said.

“There’s never a dull mo­ment,” Shep­pard added.

“I am en­joy­ing babysit­ting now be­cause I do get to spend time with my sis­ter,” Tay­lor said. “She got me back into the babysit­ting.”

The chil­dren’s af­fec­tion for their babysit­ters, whom they call NeeNee (Denise) and Iane (Diane), is clear.

While mak­ing Mother’s Day cards this past week at a play group, Ma­son made his for NeeNee.

“I just hope that my in­flu­ence is do­ing some­thing for them,” Shep­pard said. “That’s what it’s all about in the end.”

It’s hard for the sis­ters to pin­point favourite mem­o­ries, as every day there’s a new one. How­ever, Shep­pard knows one that sticks out to Ma­son – the tea par­ties she holds for them where they dress up in their fancy clothes and have lunch to­gether.

“The other day we were… look­ing for a short sleeve T-shirt for him,” Shep­pard said. “I held up one and he said ‘oh that would be good for our tea par­ties.’”

They may have too many mem­o­ries to choose, but they can choose a favourite part of child­care.

“When I go there in the morn­ing and the kids are up in the win­dow and they are right ex­cited, they can’t wait for me to walk in through the door,” Tay­lor said. “I get all these hugs and kisses. They are so happy to see me.”

“Hers is the first of the day, mine is the end of the day,” Shep­pard said. “I get my hugs and kisses then.”


Sis­ters Denise Shep­pard (back left) and Diane Tay­lor (back right) get to spend every day to­gether car­ing for, hav­ing fun and mak­ing mem­o­ries with the chil­dren they babysit (front, from left) Ma­son and Claire Bur­ton, and Anna and Reese Ash.

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