I don’t talk much about work in this blog because it’s not the thing in my life that needs fixing. I have finally found what I love to do and it’s raising children. I should have known as a child. My favorite game was “playing house” and I was the mommy and all my stuffed or otherwise, dolls were my kids. It's a role in life I always knew I wanted to play, motherhood. I took it very seriously but was always considered the fun mom. I guess I was the hard mom when I needed to be thanks to my mom and the way she raised me. But my kids are grown now and are people I would want to be friends with, and are. I’m lucky. But my life without children in it seems bare, and vastly less fullfilled than with them. When I realized this, is when I decided to become a nanny. And I finally enjoy my work.
The family that I watch is half Chinese and half Philippine so the cultures are vastly different from my English/German heritage. I’m a boring American, and I am learning a lot about their culture as one is second generation American, and one was born in China, with lots of family all over this country and some still in China. One of the fathers (grandfather to the children) is still living in China and comes to America for the Christmas and summer holiday.
This weekend was Flower Girls first birthday, and I was invited to share in the family event. No one is invited except family. No friends were there, only family…and me. I was more honored than I could express. And had so much fun sharing stories about Flower Girl and her accomplishments with her five teeth, and trying to walk unassisted, and her growing vocabulary that is starting to be understood by more than her parents, me and her little brother Beatles Boy.
What I didn’t expect after lots of food, cake, passing around Flower Girl, applauding Beatles Boy, and many, many presents, was when I decided to leave. I knew I’d get special hugs from Beatles Boy and a cute little hug and wave from Flower Girl, they see me more than they see their parents. But I got a very American and stoic hand shake and a very warm Chinese hug from the entire group of family. Some even whispered thank you for taking care of our little ones, and bless you for taking such good care of them. One of the aunts said to me that it was very clear how much I loved them, and she was smiling. Everyone was so full of love and respect, especially from the grandparents. Which is the real test in this culture, probably in all of them if we’re being honest. But something about this culture where the parents of the parents still can have a say in what goes on in their children’s and grand children’s home, made me feel like I’d passed some kind of very important test. One grandma shook my had politely before she knew who I was, and looked at me with a skeptical pause as to why I was here, then her daughter introduced me as “the nanny and my name” and her face broke into a huge smile and she said, “I’m so happy to meet you. I have heard a lot about you. Very good reports.” I know I blushed and was proud, but I didn’t feel I am doing anything that doesn’t come naturally for me. I guess that’s why I’m good at this.
All in all I’d have to say, the love I was surrounded by and not even on a day that was about me in the slightest, put this Valentine's Day close to the top of one of my favorites. I did not feel single, nor alone, nor did I feel like I should be wearing black and boycotting the whole holiday.
And I learned something new from a grandma. In China they count the time the baby spends in the womb, so with the Chinese New Year also being on Saturday, Flower Girl was two in China and one in America. Interesting that they start charting life when they observe it, at conception. Perhaps if we did that, we would take better care of ourselves as expecting moms.