I’ve worked a lot of jobs in my life. I’ve been a garden nursery worker, tending plants and pulling weeds; I’ve been a fast-paced online marketer, updating content and helping to brainstorm creative ideas. I’ve been a freelance writer, starving in my tiny studio apartment. I’ve been a Wal-mart shoe girl, trying to peddle shoes to an uninterested public.
A lot of people ask me why I ultimately chose to nanny. And the fact of the matter is, none of the jobs I’ve listed above, or any other ones that I’ve worked, give me the satisfaction and fulfillment that nannying does.
I can count, over the last ten years, the years that show up as black marks on the calendar of my life. I can point out what happened. A layoff in 2008. A breakup in 2012. A bout of depression that winter it would never stop snowing. And while others strive for alternate ways to find happiness, I find myself gravitating back to working with children.
That layoff in 2007, my first, was when I was introduced to an amazing 11-month-old girl from an even more amazing family. I healed from the scars of being not-good-enough – because I am when I’m with children. Children don’t care if your life is in a turmoil. They just need simply, and love whole-heartedly.
Professor and Piglet were the kids I met in my next layoff. They have provided me ultimate joy for years now. They were so little when I met them, yet every day, I credit Professor especially with being the best therapist a person could have. No, we didn’t talk about my problems. He helped me to see past them. He showed me the beauty in life again – and that’s why whenever I listen to Charlotte Martin’s “Beautiful Life”, I think of him. He’s still an extraordinary young man – and I still hold the same warmth in my heart that I did every day when I came to pick him up from school and saw his bright smile.
Now, I have Glo-Worm. She’s cuddly and sweet, she always gives me a huge smile, and I feel that even though it might be fleeting, I’m one of the most important people in her world. That’s better than any office job I’ve personally had. I’ve never felt as valued and accepted as I do when I work with kids. Because it doesn’t matter – you can’t be someone with low self-esteem when you’re taking care of children. You must show them how to be people who have the power to change the world. I am honoured I get to do that.
I have used nannying as a fallback. I’ve complained that it doesn’t pay enough, that it’s hard and long work, that it can sometimes be boring. But the truth of the matter is, it’s what I really love to do. I love to feel little hands around my neck, whispers in my ear, to see bright smiles and hear first words, see first steps, watch kids grow up knowing I had a hand in it. And now I’m considering changing my career path altogether and instead of using nannying as a fallback for when my “real jobs” don’t pan out, I’ll let it become my “real job”.
Love is simply joy. There’s no other way to describe it. And I do fall in love with every child I am privileged to have a hand in raising. I am honoured to have a tiny piece of their lives. I hope I make a difference, to all of them – to the Kraken and the twins, to Gamer and Puddleduck, to Professor and Piglet, to Glo-Worm and Doctor and Whirlwind. I hope that even when they don’t remember me anymore, that they have some subconscious memory of the time we spent together, of what I tried to teach them.
Because they all make a difference in my life. And maybe they’ll never know it, but the important thing is, I do, and I strive for better.