Nanny Diaries

Many moons ago….

I give you props, using the verb ‘parenting’ with such ease but continually struggle with the definite motions
What’s it like going to sleep at night next to little bodies that call someone else mom by accident all day?
How does it make your heart ache when your baby reaches for me and cries when you hold her?
It must not be too much because I’m still working overtime while being underpaid & underappreciated.
Does it make you feel superior to be so consummate in a work place where people come in and out of your job, but upon returning home do you ever realize where your real feeling of accomplishments should lie?
It astonishes me that you don’t even balk when requesting me to do some of the things I handle in a day
It’s not my responsibility to tell three children their dog they’ve known their whole life is going to die
It’s not my responsibility to watch over 15 pheasants in addition to watching three kids, and when your pheasant hunting retriever eats them all, guess what? That’s not my problem either. Punishing her is almost laughable, but in your convoluted world, it makes perfect sense to punish your dog for doing exactly what you trained her to do.
It’s not my responsibility to know what your child’s social security, room, and pin number is at school
& when I’m called Bridget by the kids teachers, I don’t even bother correcting them anymore because the facts are, they will always be seeing more of me than they will ever see of you.
You call yourself a parent but you don’t know the first thing about parenting.
You ask things of me that you will NEVER be able to deliver yourself.
It’s really going to break your heart in 10 yrs when your children won’t be able to sit in the same room as you because they see the alienation of affection at hand & the relationship will be so broken that even a pallet of super glue couldn’t mend that back together.
You have nothing but wonderful children and I hope one day you will realize that all the wealth in the world didn’t give you that, but it can certainly take it from you.
What you fail to realize is that it’s not even about the title of parenting itself, it’s about the actions that go into parenting, do you know how many first days of …. you’ve missed? How many first words, temper tantrums, and funny quotes you’ve missed out on? You once said to me “well I would like to thank you for taking all the pictures I’ll never get the chance to”, you have the chance, and you just don’t seize it.
Using your useless life as an excuse, devoting your time and energy to everything but your beautiful children. It pains me to leave this situation undone, but the more I stay the more undone I become.
There won’t be a day that goes by when I won’t think of those beautiful little faces laughing, telling me how much they love me, and enjoying the simplicities of life. I think I’ve finally found out what the feeling of being a mother is like. It used to scare me thinking  to myself that I could never do that every day, I don’t know if I could give my children everything they need; through this journey I have lulled those fears, now I know that as Mrs. Mom, I will be a rock star. My only apprehension I have left is this:  I don’t know if I could ever create something more stunning & ideal than these three gems you have created right here. You’d be doing yourself a disservice to not realize and appreciate how lucky you are.

Five Little Fingers

I’ve sat here for hours contemplating the fate of my next decision, one that only I can make and will only ever be understood by me. As these thoughts and reasonings run through my head I hear the soft murmur of the baby waking and the rain beginning to fall harder than a drunk woman in heels. What would normally be a chore for some people my age is something I find joy in, and pride myself upon.
You see my college experience has been interchanged with dirty diapers instead of term papers, teaching little ones to read instead of lecture halls, and playing mom for 3 beautiful children instead of frat parties & social gatherings. Many people look at my decision and say “God, why”; you’ll never know nor will you understand. My way isn’t right or wrong, nor yours.
Am i better because I pay all my own bills while mommy and daddy foot yours? Do I feel superior that I can solve 7 1/2 disasters, 2 meltdowns, and an empty lunchbox all before 8 am? Not in the least; while you trapse around campus with your ipod on shuffle creating the soundtrack to your life, mine is being created as well to the genre of tempertantrums, crying babies, and the occasional one liner a 4 year old can conjure up from mid air. Our lives may be different but no one’s is better than the other.
And so it goes seeing what I left for what I love I look back and then turn to look forward because what I can accomplish just 6 hours into my work day hasn’t even had your body stir to wake yet. I feel accomplished, though overwhelmed at times.
Deciding to call it quits is never an easy decision to be made, and especially being in my current position it seems to be one of the harder things I’ve had to do. While I slowly let the parents down, feelings of shock replace feelings of dependency. See being a nanny means you give your heart, soul, and life to kids that aren’t yours, but you love them like they are. Being a nanny means you give all the aforementioned plus 12 hours of your day, 2 car payments, a gas tank that seems to be a bottomless pit, and the usual responsibilities a 22 year old posess’s traded in for the responsibility of a 40 something year old woman with 3 children and no sex life.
I can do this, I thought to myself; mustering my strength and peeling back my eyelids from exhaustion every morning with 6 cups of coffee; here I stand corrected. Not in the sense most interpet, “I was wrong”, No. I was not wrong, I could do it, I did do it, and I was overworked, underpaid and underappreciated. I drew the line in the sand with a stick not knowing there were riverdancers present and they happened to be standing in the same sandbox.
Now I sit here thinking about the decision I just made, I quit. I’m not a quitter, but I had to walk away for what was going to be next if I was already watching children while vacations were had; being asked to go on family vacations only so I could watch the baby, taking kids (that aren’t mine) to doctors appointments, knowing social security numbers by heart, being called mom countless times that I get too disparaged to correct the little mouths. My heart aches for I know the next couple of weeks although will be filled with freedom of not working 60 hours a week, but also with sadness that the 3 beautiful faces I woke up every morning for, will be the ones I have to see when I look at our pictures. I wish it wasn’t this way, I wish hard decisions never had to be made, and I wish for just one small second that in a perfect little world everything would work out.

So here it is, the time I have to start letting go, which always seems to be the hardest part when you’ve been gripping the same five fingers for the past year. The same five fingers that waved at me every morning a ‘hello’ and in the evening when I left, five little fingers that turned countless pages of storybooks as I read aloud the magic and wonder each book held for these kids, and the five little fingers that wrap around my one thumb as I hold a bottle, rocking the one so small back and forth and just as slowly as I sway, her eyes begin to relax; her body goes soft, and the time between her blinks lapses until she finally falls asleep; the five little fingers have relaxed and don’t hold my thumb anymore, tomorrow walking out these doors they will now hold my heart.

To lose balance sometimes for love is a part of living a balanced life

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Although this diagram looks like garbage and slightly resembles a) the scope of a sniper and b) the starting dialation when starting the birthing process. This picture is meant to represent the ‘perfect balance’ in a life, a harmonium of sorts, a place where all chaos has ceased. O is where we’d like to be.

After seeing the movie Eat Pray Love this weekend, I left feeling like the first part sucked, and the second part was so moving that I had a lot of things to mentally work through. If any of you have read the book or even went to see the movie, you know what i’m talking about. Here is this woman amidst a mid life crisis up and leaves everything she knows because she feels trapped in her ways, she has spent so long living up to expectations, turning a blind eye to whats actually going on in her marriage, and shutting people out that tell her differently that she is now breaking at the seams. Praying to a God she only half heartedly believes in, lying on the bathroom floor sobbing while her husband sleeps in the next room, and finally going to find herself. Something she should have done years earlier but didn’t because she was too busy settling with all the wrong things. Painting her picture of perfect with the broken end of a crayon in a dimly lit room instead of using the vibrant oil pastels on a brand new blank canvas out in the warmth of the sun. I’ve been working through this movie in my mind so often, and there are times throughout my day I can hear the words ringing in my head not because the movie was unbelieveable or because I memorized the quotes; but because this is me. I am Liz Gilbert.

No I’m not married, No I don’t have a booming career, and thus far no I don’t think I’m on the brink of a mid-life crisis. It’s the in betweens, the lessons, the characteristics; the chaos, and confusion that I related to. It’s the feeling of absolute hopelessness in a situation that is beyond your control; It’s the inadequacies that someone would rather take the time to tally for you instead of verbally present to you beautiful perfections that would balance the inadequacies out. It’s the feeling of finally having my ‘perfect balance’ and then it being overturned at the drop of a hat. It’s feeling so great about yourself and knowing how wonderful you are, but you’ve spent so much time with the wrong people in the wrong situations that you’re just ready to leave everything you know in search of the oil pastels and blank canvas; i imagine, sitting somewhere in a big open field of sunflowers ready to be danced through under the warm summer sun.

It’s called the Augusteum. Octavian Augustus built it to house his remains. When the barbarians came they trashed it a long with everything else. The great Augustus, Rome’s first true great emperor. How could he have imagined that Rome, the whole world as far as he was concerned, would be in ruins. It’s one of the quietest, loneliest places in Rome. The city has grown up around it over the centuries. It feels like a precious wound, a heartbreak you won’t let go of because it hurts too good. We all want things to stay the same. Settle for living in misery because we’re afraid of change, of things crumbling to ruins. Looking around to this place, at the chaos it has endured – the way it has been adapted, burned, pillaged and found a way to build itself back up again. I was reassured, maybe my life hasn’t been so chaotic, it’s just the world that is, and the real trap is getting attached to any of it. Ruin is a gift. Ruin is the road to transformation.

We must endure to see our own worth, we must see things we once knew as the truth, as our happiness, as our whole take a complete turn; ruin, degrade, then when we have lost hope in it we glance back and see the gleaming light of reconstruction, forge, and renewal. There is a new light shed, and we look at our world through a new lens, not at who we once were, but towards what we want to be, what we want out of certain situations, and what needs to be different this time. Because at the time of all hopelessness and chaos we didn’t want change, we yearned to have the things we once knew back, even if they were drawn with broken crayongs; because they were comfortable, comforting, and secure. We feared change, not because of the word itself or the bold action attatched to it, but because we fear our capabilities, we fear our reconstruction, we fear leaving everything behind for the next chapter. So many people are stuck living in fear and afraid to change because they don’t want to know what they can become.

I believe that part of this harmonium in our lives is constant change. If we are ever evolving, ever changing, we won’t have time to look back. We will be so focused on moving forward, forging through the ruins for the better being of tomorrow. Perfect balance is a place where you can tune yourself in while not having to tune the world out, having happiness through the hurt, feeling something, experiencing life and not waiting on the sidelines until it’s your turn to play. There will always be times of chaos and feelings of imbalance, we have to remember that we will re root, rebuild, and flourish once more. And through these past times of hopelessness you find out that you are strong, that you can endure, and that you really do have worth. Balance is not letting anyone love you less than you love yourself.

A Year Ago Today

I turn over to the sound of my phone vibrating on top of the bedside table, extremely groggy and all of the libations a Saturday night festivity can supply are still in full swing in my system – I only know this because the hangover hasn’t hit yet. I rub my eyes crawling over my best friend to see why my phone is going all Jerry Springer at 4am… That’s a question I now wish I hadn’t asked…
  “Why is he calling me this early, and why like 12 times in a row…am I dreaming this?”…
Unfortunately I quickly found out the reasoning behind the rapid phone calls and incessant attempts to reaching me. “Hey what’s up I just looked at my phone..” I knew right then and there when he responded something was awfully wrong – I could hear it in the tone of his voice, I could hear it in the cracks behind the statement, I could sense it with everything I know about this person…“Meg…something happened…it’s Thanh, he got hit by a car last night” …

Those words couldn’t have dropped my heart into my stomach then into my ass any faster than an alka seltzer tablet. I didn’t believe it, looking back I was almost numbed to it, I just asked foolishly “well is he ok? Is he going to make it?”...
I don’t remember much besides jumping into the car and driving homewards where I had just come from not even 12 hours earlier, I remember playing the conversation over and over in my head until it hit me like a shit ton of bricks and I just lost it – I mean single mom of 6 kids where dad walked out to date the babysitter, I’m working three jobs am still on welfare and am stretched so thin you might be able to see right through me – lost it. I was sobbing so hard I couldn’t see the Northbound lane of 35 anymore, then seemed to be a deeming hour to pull the car over and collect myself.
 ‘ok Meg, you don’t know the severity maybe he really is ok and Biss is just fine..’
It was so far from the truth, but it helped me get myself together to finish this 3 hour journey back home to be with the ones I loved at this horrible inception of tragedy.

I remember hearing that everyone had gone down to Mankato to be in the hospital with him and I remember just going to the nearest coffee shop to sit and wait until you guys got home to come over. I remember staring at that coffee cup not being able to move – not being able to drink – not being able to escape my thoughts. I couldn’t grasp that a best friend of mine is about to lose her boyfriend. What do I say…nothing comes to my mind….what do I do….again, a blank presence of comfort arises.
This isn’t a situation people go through at the age of 20 – girls who have just become women don’t lower their love into a grave, women who’ve just decided what they are going to do with their life don’t take a weeks leave from school to decide who’s going to carry her boyfriend’s casket down a long aisle of a church filled with familiar faces and sorrow. At the age of 20 you’re looking forward to the legal drinking age, the next college football game, dreading what exams are next, and stressing over the ever piling of homework. This 20 year old is the exception to the rule, this gal is one of my best friends and I have known her for quite sometime – how do I say something to comfort someone I’m so comfortable with? Words escape me, I truly am at a loss of noise and sit in a well of silence.

A year ago today – was easily one of the worst days any of us could have imagined – a year ago today we learned of a horrible accident that was irreversible at the hands of an irresponsible man – a year ago today we started to say goodbye to someone who couldn’t say it back. A year ago today I held my best friend while she sobbed in my arms at a loss for words where feelings took over – a year ago today I watched my best friend hold the soft and fragile hand of the man she saw forever with – assuring him that it was going to be ok – a year ago today I saw a woman who was my best friend and confidante gracefully step from one stone to the next, where she is now standing as someone I admire and hope to be someday, someone I truly believe to be my hero – a year ago I saw you, Biss, in the face of adversity handle yourself with the grace of an adult, and bravery I will never forget. A year ago today we started accepting the fate of the present and the outcome of the future – we learned what’s really important in life and getting a flat tire isn’t the end of the world anymore – our small fogged perspectives of  the world grew that day, grew to a full compassion complex, a full human being caring and kindness complex, and grew to a level which we maybe shouldn’t have seen until later on in life…but guess what? I’m so happy I allowed my world open up that day to all the hurt that was lying there before us – because at the age of 23 I can honestly say I appreciate everyday I wake up and am able to walk around, for those that have gone before me at a age younger than mine – thank you for being the example I remember and think of every time I have second thoughts about chasing dreams. Alyssa thank you for being someone I admire, and someone I hope to be like someday – you put strength into the world for other women who are enduring what you have, and that gives them hope – because they see how you’ve succeeded.

For any back story on this post feel free to read here  and here and this one and last one