When I was pregnant with my first, her daughter was pregnant with her first. Sara often sat on the front steps smoking and would ask me about my pregnancy when I went to run errands. She would also update me on her daughter's pregnancy.
One day, after her car had broken down, she needed a ride to the hospital. It wasn't an emergency or anything. She had a doctor's appointment. We lived down the street from the hospital. It was an uphill climb, and Sara is overweight. She also has breathing problems due to her weight and smoking. So, I took her up on my way somewhere else.
Knowing that she didn't have a vehicle, I would ask her when I went to the store if she wanted to come with me. She often did. She told me everything about what was going on in her life and her daughters' lives. She adored my husband Dan, and desperately wanted him to be her son-in-law. She got a little cheated in the son-in-law department, or at least that's what she'll tell you. Her grand babies' dad is in jail.
When I had my first baby, Daniel, she would take care of him while I brought up groceries. I was on the third floor; she was on the first. This turned into her babysitting when we did teen ministries at church, including some overnight events, or when Dan and I went on dates, and even when I just wanted to run a few errands alone.
At some point she started to take the car alone to doctor's appointments and to run errands.
It was a system of deep trust and reliance, trading a car for babysitting. Some people were in awe that we would trust someone with our car. I was more in awe that I found someone that I could trust with my kid.
Sara is the same age as my mother, but she wasn't exactly a mother figure to me. Sometimes it almost seemed the other way around. We have lived very different lives, yet she is one of my best friends.
This is the only real example of bartering we have done. We both felt like we were getting the better end of the deal. She loves my son, and my son pretends to talk to her on the phone all the time. She also loved my car, and took care of it like her own. Sara and I are still dear friends. She wants to come and help with the new baby soon, and is glad to be featured on my blog. She had a list of suggestions about what stories I should tell about her, most involving odd ways she has gotten money.
The relationship we have is far more valuable to both of us than the bartering and the bartering would not have worked had that not been true.
Have you done any kind of bartering?