Appreciations

Frozen in Time: Thankful Thoughts

It’s a regular day here in Canada. Everyone’s celebrating Thanksgiving in America, and I see a lot of posts about being thankful on my Facebook. I see delicious meals being photographed on my Instagram. Since we’ve already had our Thanksgiving this year, I’m not sad or jealous. I’m just happy that everyone else seems to be happy.

I love reading people’s thankful posts. I know some find it annoying, but I don’t see it that way. It’s important to count our blessings at any time of the year. It’s extremely easy to get caught up in what’s wrong and bad in our lives. And I got to thinking that I haven’t written a post about what I’m thankful for in a long time. I haven’t talked about the people and the things that make me glad to be alive. So, I’m remedying that.

When you’re in the childcare business, a lot of the interaction and joy you get from children is left behind when you leave the position, for whatever reason. And as I was playing with Diva and Footballer the other night, feeling their little arms around my neck, holding Diva on my lap with her blanket and her head against my shoulder, I wished I could freeze them in time, at their current age, because this age is so delightful for me as their caregiver. It was then I realized that I do have that privilege, with many of the children that I’ve worked with over the years. I have the memories of those children that are unspoiled by “growing up”. I am profoundly grateful for that.

I don’t plan to leave any of my current families behind right now, but I know that if I did, I would remember cuddling in the half-light with little ones who had a bad dream.  I would remember reading books over and over, laughing at all the right places with delighted toddlers, and feeling the warmth and weight of their little bodies in my lap. I would remember the long conversations about anything and everything with kindergarteners before bedtime. Lying beside them in bed, reading, or just talking, staring up at the ceiling and hearing about their days at school, or their hopes and dreams. I have been the special confidant of many a child and I have never stopped being grateful that they decided to share their thoughts with me.

For the ones I have left behind, I know most of those kids no longer remember me. But I remember them. I remember big smiles, lots of cuddles, and times at the park as the sun set on a cool autumn day. I remember going through school classrooms, being shown their artwork and their schoolwork. I remember jumping on trampolines on a summer evening, and snuggling in front of a movie in the winter. I remember one specific little girl, who loved the first snow so much that she would jump up and down excitedly when the first flakes fell. We’d walk and walk and walk around her neighbourhood, catching snowflakes on our tongues and on our mittens, and she would never get tired of it. And to Glo-Worm, who I still think of most days, I miss our long walks to the park and giving you your bottle in front of the lazy fan on those hot, hot summer days.

So the things I am thankful for are the sweet memories I have of all the children I’ve gotten to work with over the years. From Diva and Footballer, whose big smiles and big hugs and all around charm make me enjoy coming over so much, to the Kraken, who named one of his “cuddling birds” (the origami birds in his room) after me, to baby Star, whose sweet laughter and energy are contagious, to Doctor and Whirlwind, who lit candles, played classical music, and made sure that the lights were dimmed and a fire was lit when I came – thank you all for being so wonderful. Thank you for helping to give my life a greater purpose, for teaching me patience and making me laugh, and for being some of the smartest and compassionate little people I know.

I talk about a lot of activism on this blog, but I don’t forget the reason I started it. I will always be a nanny, long after I have done everything else. And the children I work with remind me that no matter what I get fired up about, I am thankful to be in their lives and to know that when everything else seems depressing, they are the joys that make me smile, every time.

That’s what I’m thankful for every year.

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