Summer 2007

Mr. & Mrs. R. are going out of town on vacation. For a week, it's just me and the girls. Wednesday to Wednesday. I've babysat for them overnight before, but not for more than 4 days, and not during the summer. I'm excited, and nervous. A.'s been having lots of behavior difficulty lately, and won't often listen to me, but I'm still excited about spending so much time with the girls.

Wednesday morning I arrive at the R.'s house at 6:15 a.m. so Mr. & Mrs. R. can leave. Mrs. R. sends me to the store for last-minute tampons. Finally, at 7:15, they leave. I have to get the girls up at 7:30. A. has summer camp for 6 hours during the day, and E. has a 2-hour class. I get them up, dressed, fed, and teeth brushed, and we're out the door. They're happy to see me. I'm guzzling coffee.

The day goes on without a hitch. I drop both girls off, run some errands (there was literally no food in the house when I got there), and swing back to pick up E. Take her home, feed her, put her down for her nap. Then we're off to pick up A. Take both girls home and play for a while. Make dinner. Feed them. Bathe them. Read to them. Put them to bed. (You may remember when I described their bedtime routine here.) Rinse, and repeat.

The days are mostly the same. The weekend is more challenging because I get food poisoning AND the 7th Harry Potter book came out. I camp myself on the couch, book in one hand, throw-up bowl in the other, and sit the girls in front of the TV for 12 hours straight (something I am adamantly opposed to. I normally don't let the girls watch TV).

Some days are harder than others. It's lonely at night after the girls have gone to bed at 7:30 and I'm awake. I clean the house each night, and do the dishes. Take out the trash. Feed the dog and cat, scoop the cat's litterbox. Read a bit. Some nights A. screams so loudly during a tantrum that I'm afraid the neighbors are going to call the police. Some nights we're all so frazzled and sick of each other that we're all grumpy. E. has nightmares a few nights in a row, and comes in to sleep with me. She tossed and turned.

But amid all tantrums, and the sheer difficulty of being a single mommy to two young kids, is such joy and happiness. At the end of the day when I'm exhausted beyond belief and the girls have fried my last nerve, I still love them fiercely. It's all worth it. All of it.

Back to the present

I miss the girls so badly. I think about them on a daily basis--wondering how they're doing, thinking about what I'd be doing with them at that moment, if. If. If I was with them. But I'm not.

I second-guess quitting a lot, too. But I have to keep reminding myself that Mr. & Mrs. R. were literally making me crazy. I have to keep reminding myself that though I loved the girls so very much, that environment wasn't healthy for me. Or for them...and that kills me. I wanted to save the girls so badly. But there was nothing I could do. So I left.

I feel like a quitter. I feel like a failure to them. I knew them for seven years. Seven years. I remember rocking sweet A. to sleep when she was just a tiny baby. I remember watching her take her first steps. I remember the weight of her on my chest when she'd fall asleep on me. I remember when E. was born--how happy we were. I remember the sound of her high-pitched voice squealing whenever she saw me. I was there for her first steps, too. I remember taking long walks with the girls, just listening to their chatter coming from the stroller. I remember their soft little bodies snuggled up against me as we read stories.

It's been over 2 months now since I've seen them. Some nights, like this one, the pain and grief for my two lost girls is still raw. The wish that I could have said goodbye to them will remain forever. Someone remarked to me that I'm grieving like they're dead, and they're not--but against my wishes, they are to me.


Angelle said...

I can imagine how hard this must be for you. I hope one day your girls will look you up and you can be back in their lives.

Monica H said...

Oh nanny, I'm so sorry. I was ectied to read the first paragraph, hten i reread the title and realized this was last year, not 2008. I can't imagine how much you miss them. They were like your own and now you have any contact with them. I'm sure they miss all these things about you too. They haven't forgotten you and that has to count for something, right?

My suggestion to you would be to write them a letter to tell them how youfeel and how you miss them. Just write to them as if they were in front of you. Talk to them about their day and all the little things in between. I know this will not make up for the fac that they are not right in front of you, but it wan bring you peace. You don't hav eto do anything withthe letters, but I have found that geting these feelings off your chest relieves a tremendous amout of stress. Hang in there, just know with each passing day, that you are a stronger woman.

Carole said...

They were so lucky to have you in their lives...I know you've had a lasting impact.

Cait said...

So since I'm still catching up on your blog, I know this is almost three years too late, but oh, nanny, I feel your pain. I took care of four boys under the age of four for two summers in a row after high school and after my first year of college. I lived and breathed those boys, spoke in Spanish to them, actually enforced rules, made sandcastle after sandcastle, cried to my mom on the phone about their horrible parents and one day (twice)...left. I left them and bawled, alone, on the airplane both summers. I cried so hard the flight attendants came over and sat with me. There is nothing that helps except time (as I'm sure you know) and knowing that you made such a difference in A. and E.'s lives, no matter what happens to them now that you're gone.

From one nanny to another, there is nothing that compares to loving kids that aren't yours. We love them fiercely, deeply, and well. And someday, we all have to leave them behind.

The Nanny said...

xoxo, cait. Thank you for your sweet words and I'm sorry, too, for your situation :(