A mere nine days after Kevin and I got married in 2004, I began my first long-term nanny job taking care of “my two little guys.” Actually, I was just taking care of one adorable baby boy for the first few months since the other infant’s mom was still on maternity leave. Before long, I had two babes three months apart in age to care for 54 plus hours a week. I was 24, the same age my mom had been when she had me.
Why are you nannying when you have a Masters?!” is something I have heard numerous times, especially from my family members. The short answer is: I love kids and we don’t have any of our own.
Being with children gives me great joy! Taking part in their care, education, being one of the people in their village helping to raise them to feel safe, confident, and loved in this world is such a tremendous responsibility.
Raising and educating children is truly one of the most challenging and rewarding jobs I've ever had! Sure, I applied to a number of different non-profits after graduating from Hollins University with my Masters degree, but I knew that I would really miss working with children if I took a job in a traditional office setting. I’m perfectly capable of working in an office, answering phones, setting up for meetings, giving presentations, writing and editing newsletters, creating spreadsheets, coordinating gatherings, following up with clients, and I have done all of those things in the various jobs and volunteer opportunities I’ve had over the past 20 years. Life without children being an integral part of it just isn't the same, though.
What would you like to be when you grow up? The short answer to that is: a faithful servant of God who puts His Will first, a good wife, and a good mom. However, since I may never get the chance to do the third of those, with God's blessing and Kevin's support, I’ve dedicated a lot of my time, energy, creativity, love, dedication, determination, willingness to be adaptable, learn new tricks of the trade, and grow as an individual by being a childcare provider. I figured being a nanny is the closest I could get to being a mom when we don't have children (at least not ones for whom are biologically or legally responsible).
Close to two years after I started, each of the families made the decision that the mom would start working from home, so they would have more time with their sons. The day one boy’s parents told me about their decision, they were both tearing up. I was deeply moved they were really going to miss having me take care of their son.
Fortunately, God gave me the grace and peace of mind to encourage them that they were doing the right thing. I knew that they had been really beaten down by demanding jobs and that their family life and health had suffered. I affirmed their decision. I didn’t burst into tears and start mourning until later on, long after I’d gone home and was sharing the news with Kevin.
To be kind and considerate, they gave me close to three months’ notice so that I would have ample time to look for my next job. I tried my best not to let the boys see me sad, but sometimes one of them would be sitting on my lap listening to a book or showing me something, and tears would start falling down my cheeks.
From early on, I had two car seats installed in my car and kept the double stroller we used in my trunk, so that I could take the boys on field trips and such. We went to different parks, The Children's Museum, the mall, and various playgrounds. We'd meet up with their parents for lunch or go visit with some of my family. We had all sorts of adventures inside and outside!
"Ride in Trisha's car?" the older of the two boys asked me one day. Since I wouldn't be taking care of them much longer, I'd returned the car seats to their parents. I explained to the little guy that I didn't have a special seat in my car for him anymore, so I couldn't take him anywhere. He looked sad and clearly disappointed.
Then, it occurred to me what he was really asking: do I still have a place in your life, in your heart? Will you remember me? Will you miss me and still love me? My emphatic answer to all of those questions was and still is a resounding YES!
Even nine years after nannying for "my two little guys," I still think of them often and pray for them regularly. I'm grateful for Facebook, so I can see photos and such that their parents' post about what they're up to these days. One just started middle school, and the other began fifth grade.
I knew it would be a huge adjustment once our “daytime family” broke up. I couldn’t even make it through the weekend without missing the boys and wondering what they were up to. I went through a period of significant mourning and the grief usually associated with loss.
In fact, my separation anxiety and missing the boys were so painful that I decided I would never nanny for anyone, again. I was too devastated when I stopped taking care of “my two little guys” in August 2006 to risk that level of love, attachment, and ultimately loss, again.