Monday, August 25, 2014
My Little Sunshine
I've been thinking about writing this post for months. There's absolutely no way to do the subject justice. But I will do my best to see through the tears that are already falling and record my thoughts, because I need to remember... although it feels impossible for me to ever forget.
One year ago I moved to Boston and got a job as a nanny.
My primary responsibilities: caring for 5-year-old Big Brother,
2-year-old Little Miss,
and, since he joined the family 5 months ago, Baby.
The bad days feel like this:
The good days feel like this:
And the wonderful days feel like this:
An average* day in the life would include the following:
Arrive with smiles and greetings, help children finish breakfast.
Clean little hands, corral little bodies upstairs to brush teeth and dress for the day.
Collect and pack lunches, backpacks, diaper bags, water bottles, etc.
Load gear and kids into car, secure buckles, turn on tunes, drive Big Brother to school/camp.
Return home, tidy up kitchen, bedrooms, and/or playroom.
Pack snack and stroller, take Baby and Little Miss on a walk to the playground.
Return home, feed and change Baby, prepare for and eat lunch with Little Miss.
Clean up, change pull-ups and diapers, read stories, sing songs.
Nap Time. Baby Time. Breathe.
Wake up Little Miss, change, pack up, pick up Big Brother, return home, unpack.
Prepare and serve dinner, clean up.
Say goodnight, go home.
*Insert various other diaper-pull-up-underwear-changing, fit-throwing, behavior-redirecting, conflict-resolving, mess-cleaning, band-aid-applying unforeseen adventures at any time.
Because Big Brother is gone for several hours of the day, and because Mommy or Daddy often assists in caring for Baby, the majority of my time is shared or spent one-on-one with Little Miss.
And this time has changed my life.
There is a special magic in the life of young children, created in part by the fact that their concept of time has not yet fully developed. They have the amazing ability to live completely in the present moment, without the push and pull of future events or demands distracting their attention from the happenings of now. Observing this phenomenon on a daily basis has offered me priceless and precious opportunities to re-train my mind in the art of slowing down, enjoying, and truly experiencing. I’ve tried to stop saying “hurry,” and to instead embrace the in-between things that often mean the most. This change of pace has allowed me to remember and relearn, through teaching Little Miss, some of the simple joys of life.
Together, we have mastered swinging.
We are incredible puddle-jumpers.
We know that when the right music comes on, it’s time for a dance party…whether we’re at home or the grocery store.
We are fantastic flower-smellers, dandelion-pickers, and helicopter-leaf-fliers.
We rock at one-on-one soccer.
We are really, really good at hopping over sidewalk cracks…Every. Single. One.
We are wonderful at spotting and observing bugs, birds, squirrels, doggies, and bunnies.
We know how to color, make necklaces, decorate princess crowns, sculpt play-dough, create puppets, and make all kinds of “projects.”
We can get our stomp-rockets super high.
We bake delicious cupcakes, cookies, brownies, and muffins.
We build amazing Lego structures.
We celebrate our victories, like putting shoes on the correct feet and completing tricky puzzles.
We know how to thoroughly enjoy story time.
And goodness, do we know how to sing!
Because of my contract, and out of respect for her very dear family, I can’t include any pictures of the little girl I’ve spent the last year learning with. I can't share the image of her bouncy curls poking out from underneath her Red Sox cap. I can’t post the video of her excitement when she was finally able to blow bubbles, instead of just spitting. I can't show you the bright smile that lights up the sweetest little face. I can't tell you her name.
But she calls me Tisi.
And for all my successful speech instruction and her incredible verbalization skills acquired over the past 12 months, I've never had it in me to correct her.
I didn’t understand when I began this position how much I needed this personally sacred experience. The work has been full of challenges, difficulties, and frustrations; but the calm and peaceful moments of growth and truth have made it a treasured and invaluable part of my life. As I prepare to move forward with my teaching career and say temporary goodbyes to these dear children, I recognize that their sweet spirits have helped me to feel God’s love each day. It is through helping them exercise perseverance in overcoming their daily struggles, small and insignificant as they may at times seem, that I have learned of God's patience, trust, and confidence in me to confront and conquer challenges in my own life. They have loved me unconditionally as He would, and have allowed me the glorious opportunity to do the same.
God’s love is in Little Miss’s sweet voice singing along to primary songs and lullabies. It’s in her tender hugs and hand-holding. It’s in her contagious smiles and giggles. It’s in her warm morning greetings and goodnights. It’s in her never-ending conversation and constant “I love yous.” It’s in
her determined spirit and trusting eyes.
Grace: (Bible Dictionary)
Divine means of help or strength, given through the bounteous mercy and love of Jesus Christ. It is…through the grace of the Lord that individuals, through faith in the Atonement of Jesus Christ and repentance of their sins, receive strength and assistance to do good works that they otherwise would not be able to maintain if left to their own means. This grace is an enabling power…
When I moved to Boston I had a huge, gaping, painful hole in my heart. Many incredible people, beautiful experiences, diligent efforts, and continually passing days have helped to mend and fill it over the course of the past year. I know that the most significant source of healing has been the grace of my Savior, through His all-encompassing Atonement – but I sure do believe God sent a very large portion of that grace to me through the eyes, smile, laughter and love of His precious 2-year-old daughter.
Thank you, Little Miss.
I love you forever.