Wednesday, September 11, 2013

I'm a Nanny

Dear Readers,

In my attempts for you to know me, at least on some level, I'm going to dedicate several posts to the different aspects of my life. I wear many hats both literally (I own about 30) and figuratively. I'd like you to know many of them, mostly the figurative ones. This is the first of those posts.

I am a nanny. Now, go figure right after the post where I explicitly say I'm not a mother and therefore children are not going to be the focal point of my blog, I go and tell you that I take care of children on a regular basis. But they are not mine, nor are they the point that I'm trying make. I'm going to be a little narcissistic here and remind you that this is about me.

For those of you who know me, and lets face it, this early in the blogging game most of you who do read this do know me, wouldn't be surprised if I told you I have always been good with kids and having been waiting to become a mother my entire life. But if I told you that, it would be a bold faced lie. Yes, I have been working with kids and taking care of kids since before I even entered my teen years. I started watching a family of four before my 12th birthday. But to be honest, I didn't love it. I was bored when I worked with kids. I would count down the minutes until I could go home. And I liked the children, most of them anyway, but I didn't really know what I was doing. When I started helping my mom with my church's after school program, I was impatient. I yelled. I let the annoying ones get to me. And I began to wonder if I would ever really enjoy being around children, yet I still decided to work at a summer camp where I would be with children 24/7. When I was a camp counselor, I tended not to count down the minutes because there was very little to count down to. One day off on the weekend and counting down weeks would mean counting down the summer. I did somehow enjoy working at camp. I didn't always know what I was doing, but I had grown. And I knew I liked the older kids, but the problem was that I wanted to be their friend more that their counselor. And when I tried to bring discipline neither 2nd grader nor teen took me seriously. Once I was the camp counselor for someone who was a couple years behind me at my high school, and boy, that did not go too well. With the younger kids, I just yelled because what else could I do? I was pretty convinced that I'd never ever take care of children for a living, and was on the edge about ever becoming a mother. There were days when I just threw that idea right out the window.

But things changed. We were just going along with our wild hippie lifestyles, and my best friend unexpectedly got pregnant. And then Abby entered my world. I fell in love. I didn't love her because she was a cute baby or because she was just so little. Though both were true. For the first time a child entered my life and changed it. Abby was light in a very dark and confusing world. Making her smile was something I looked forward to each time I would visit her and her mom. Watching her grow into this beautiful little person, a person with thoughts and feelings and strengths and weaknesses was like magic. And knowing I had influenced her in some way was one reason I wanted to become a better person.

Since Abby was born in April of 2007, I have had many children come into my life whom I love dearly. My adorable nephew and a niece. Three beautiful little boys who capture my heart every Sunday, and sometimes during the week. Dozens of children at the daycare where I worked, where I learned patience, where I learned not to yell, and where I learned the heartbreak of good byes. And then I became a nanny.

And for the past year and a half I have loved and cared for two kids who both stole my heart and drove me crazy. I have supported their parents in raising their rambunctious kids so they could become smart and caring people. I helped Z learn how to read. I taught W how to be a good sport in games. I took them to playgrounds where they learned how to pump on the swings and to the Museum of Play where pretended to be super heroes. I learned their friends names and met many of them. I told them weird but interesting facts about animals and human anatomy. I hung upside down on the couch like a bat with them. I read the entire Chronicles of Narnia to them in an English accent. I made them happy with surprises and Angry Birds Star Wars and mad when I told them no. And now that time is over. Both of them are in school full time now, and I had to say good bye again. I have had to say good bye to so many children, but this was the hardest of all. Because for 4-7 hours a day, 2-3 days a week I belonged only to them, and they belonged only to me. They were family in a time of my life when family couldn't be with me everyday. They made me a better person.

My life as a nanny is not over though. There are more children to love, and I have more love to give. Now I take care of an infant who is brand new and beautiful and challenges me in new ways. Her mother has been a source of love and support to me for over four years now and this is one way that I can offer that love and support back. And I look forward to every moment that I get to spend with Liv. Even though I know this is another temporary situation since her mommy is not going to work forever, I am excited to watch her learn and grow and do some learning and growing right along side her. And the amazing about Liv is that even though I won't be watching her for the long haul, I won't have to say good bye.

I won't always be a nanny. I may not even be a nanny for very much longer, but children still seem magical to me. They will always be part of my life.

With Love,

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