I will never forget the first time I saw her. I had moved to LA 9 month’s prior and had been to countless interviews. I couldn’t seem to find the right fit. I had one temp job on location for a couple of months and was abused by my employer and developed an anxiety issue. I was exhausted. I was burnt out. Then there she was, less than a month old, curled up like a little bug in her Pack-n-Play. She was perfect. I am not sure what your beliefs are, but I believe with all of my heart that Vivian was an answer to my prayers for God to heal my broken and burnt out heart. She brought a peace to me. As a newborn she would sleep on my chest..
it was so therapeutic. I would sit in that rocking chair listening to her little breaths and everything would seem right in the world. I have been a full time career nanny for the past 12 years. Geez, that makes me feel old. There have been many children that have come into my life, and all of them have taught me something and touched my heart in a unique way. But there is one little girl who left a very big impression on my heart. Her name is Vivian; a little girl with a big personality who changed my life. And while it should be said that Vivian’s whole family became a second family to me, this is her story.
I started affectionately referring to her as, “my little gumdrop,” gummy for short. Her little toothless gummy smile and chubby baby thighs were the inspiration. It stuck.
Watching her grow up was like watching an artist paint a colorful and vibrant picture on a blank canvas. Everything was new and exciting— full of firsts. First steps, first words, first likes, dislikes, eating solids, catching a cold, seeing a dog, crunching leafs, squishing Play Doh, licking ice cream, going to Disneyland, laughing, potty training, getting lost in a pile of storybooks, skinning her knee, making friends, going to her first movie, walking on the sandy beach. With every new moment, a new colorful brush stroke on her life’s canvas. There was always ease in rejoicing in her big moments as her mother was super hands on and empowered me as a caregiver. I consider her not only as a past employer, but also as a current friend.
Vivian and I just got each other. It was effortless. Any day I had that I had enough and felt over whelmed; she would get sympathetic tears and wrap her little arms around me. Her hugs were like magic. I would feel instantly better. We had the same sense humor— and we laughed a lot. She was always interested in my artwork and made beautiful pieces of her own. Colors were a language between us.
Disneyland was our place. We spent many late mornings and afternoons chasing magic and traveling to enchanted lands together before the bell rang at her brothers’ school. There is something beautiful about watching a little child talk to Mary Poppins and leaving the conversation believing that she truly IS a princess.
School pick ups consisted of tutus, butterfly wings, and stuffed animals in tow. Penelope the Penguin was a part of our possy. She got us. Many evenings were spent wiping dirt and food off of our little pink furry friend. Her stitched smile never seemed to fade or frown. If she could speak… I am sure she would tell you that she wouldn’t change a thing. During the day we were the Three Musketeers.
She refreshed me and made me see the importance and beauty in being a nanny in a season that I thought I was not making a difference. Although I am not currently her nanny- she is still my “family” and trips to California will continue to ensue. If you are a nanny who is in a season of feeling like what you are doing isn’t making a difference, let me assure you, you are. It is. You are doing great. You are sowing seeds that will grow into fruit that remains. You are nurturing the beginnings of big dreams. Keep going.