Tuesday, December 6, 2011

18 years

Today is a very special anniversary for me.
On this day, 18 years ago, I started a new job caring for a 6 week old boy.
Eighteen years later, I am honored to say that I am still with this family.
As a nanny, you never know what a job will be like. You never know if it’s going to last a year, or 10 years so anniversaries or “nannyversaries” as many of my friends call it, are special and I believe they should be recognized and celebrated.
Fresh out of my nanny training program 27 years ago, I had high hopes for what the Nanny profession held for me, but in life there are no guarantees.
My first family was a great experience for me. They had never had a nanny and I had never been a nanny so we all learned and grew together.
 I loved working for them, and I have so many happy memories of times spent with their entire family. As a nanny the best that you can hope for when a job ends is that your relationship with the family doesn’t end but simply changes.
After I left my first family, even though I still got to see the children, it was so emotional and painful for me, and there really was nothing out there to support nannies going through that process. Eventually my pain and what I learned from that experience was the catalyst for me to start my “Nanny Transitions” workshop and blog. But in the meantime, I still had to make a living and I just didn’t think that I could start over with a new family, and feel that bond, feel that connection and feel that sense of success and fulfillment that I had the first time around.
When I started this job, I had no idea all the changes that were in store for me.
My new employers were so excited to have me, and they were so appreciative of everything I did. They were successful professionals, older first time parents, transplants from other states with no family locally, and very open to listening to me and working together with me as a parenting team. 
They always went out of their way to thank me and make sure that I knew that they were glad to have me.
I worked a lot but I loved it, I enjoyed watching this baby grow and develop and he was so much fun. It’s one of the best parts of what we do as nannies and it’s why I am still passionate about my profession.
In 1995, two years into this job, I met my husband and we married 8 months later. He too became a part of this family.He owned his own business and the fact that we both worked a lot was one of the things that helped our relationship to work.
In 1999, my work family welcomed a baby girl. All of our lives changed the day she was born. By now my oldest charge was 5 ½. The first time we took him to the hospital to meet his baby sister, he looked at her lying in his moms’ arms, he gently grabbed her hand, and looked into her eyes and said “I will never forget this day as long as I live. I will never be lonely again”  We were all in tears from his heartfelt words.

We all know that a baby has the ability to turn your world upside down but we loved every minute of it. There is something about a new life that renews your spirit, and gives you hope for the future.
As the kids grew, and went to pre school and eventually full time school, I was fortunate that I was able to ebb and flow with this family and their changing needs. We always worked together and they respected my right to have a life beyond my work.

These days, my kids are 18 and soon to be 13 and I still have the privilege of working 2 days a week.
My greatest joy in life has always come from caring for children, and caring for other peoples children as if they were my own, is one of the greatest blessings of my life.
I have never been sad that God didn’t bless me with a child of my own because God has filled my life with so many children, and so much love that I never felt a void from not being a mother. I know that it’s not the same, but for me, it’s enough.
I believe that it takes a strong woman to allow someone else to truly love her child and I can say that both of my female employers (,mom bosses) were strong women who influenced me professionally and personally. I can also say that both of my male employers (dad bosses) were amazing dads who loved their kids a lot. I learned a lot from each of them.
So you will have to indulge me a bit today because I am feeling extremely sappy and incredibly blessed to be celebrating my 18th year with a very special family.
We don’t all get to stay this long, we don’t all get to know how our kids grow up and what their lives will become, sometimes it’s our choice, and sometimes it’s not.
There comes a time in this relationship where you realize that there is never going to be a time when you quit and walk away forever. You realize that no matter what obstacle you encounter, you will all work through it together. You realize that life may change and your relationship may change, but it will survive the toughest times because all parties are committed to making it work.
So today, I have a grateful heart for great employers who have grown to be an important part of my life, for a husband who supports me in all I do, and the 2 kids who made the last 18 years fun, memorable and life changing.