Often in Life, there are few things that we can talk about with absolute certainty. Life changes and flows, grows and stretches its hands in new ways all the time. If there is anything in Life that is certain, it is that everything is uncertain. Yet I have been lucky to find that the certainty my Life is that I was meant to be, no, born to be a caregiver. Yes, I was that young girl who hoarded baby dolls and treated each of them with care. When my brother was born, I was elated. Why wouldn’t I be? My mother had just given birth to a real-life baby doll, and he was all mine to take care of. My mom called me his ‘little mama,’ and the older I grew, the more true it became. Being 6 years older, I never felt that we ‘grew up together.’ With such an age gap I was constantly the caregiver, something I of course never minded. At age 10 I yelled at the other kids for playing too rough with him, as he was smaller and kind of babyish compared to other kids his age. At age 13 I was excited to pick him up from after school care and walk, hand-in-hand, the two blocks back home. By age 16 I was full-on chauffeur, taking him to and from taekwondo practice while I studied in the corner, preparing for college admissions. Continue reading
So, here I am, less than a week away from beginning my newest journey as a full-time nanny! In the spirit of both organization, and having a bit too much time on my hands, I came up with these info sheets I thought would be helpful to anyone starting a new nanny position. I’m attempting to keep things as organized as possible, as I’ll be part of a nanny share with 3 families! This means I’ll have a ‘home base’ with my full-time family where the other two families will bring their child for care one day a week each (not on the same days). This works out so that I’ll never be caring for more than two infants at a time. That being said, all of the children in my care are under a year old, ages currently 1 month, 3 months, and 6 months. So, these sheets are designed with infants in mind, but the general idea is that it’s important for any caregiver to be able to have information about the child available for reference, and contact info in case of emergency. Continue reading
Confession: I love my mom.
Recently more than ever, I’ve come to appreciate being able to be completely honest with her. It’s been a little over a year and a half since I moved away from home to go to school, and consequently, a little over a year and half since I’ve been texting my mom in a panic about every bodily function. Continue reading
Today I came across a blog in which a husband and wife share a journal and write letters to each other daily. Occasionally they share these on the blog, an example can be found here. I love this idea and though I may not share a physical copy of these letters, I think it’s nice to collect these little daily thoughts as a reminder of how great even the smallest things are. I’ve gathered my letters from the last week or so, and posted them below:
Dear Dad: Thank you for scaring the crap out of me, then pleasantly surprising me by how much you and Jacob really got along. Dear Mom: You were right. He’s a keeper :) Dear Little Brother: I knew you would like him! Playing video games together is the perfect way to win you over. Dear J: Thank you for everything today. I loved walking through my city with you hand-in-hand. I loved seeing you in Grapevine, loved seeing you feel at home in my home. Today couldn’t have been more wonderful because of you. Dear Hometown: Stay beautiful, Grapevine.
Dear Vikki: I’m sorry I was late to math. Again. Dear J: We just spent the whole weekend together, but I missed not seeing you today. The day was a little quieter, but you still made me feel loved. Thank you for that darling :)
Dear J: Today you surprised me with a morning visit! You brighten my day, and I was so happy to see you before I went to class.
Dear Stomach: I know you hate Panda Express. I’m so sorry.
Dear J: Today we spent an evening playing pool, and you convinced me that one band guy really does like me for some reason… We finished the night with Netflix in bed, which has become one of my favorite things now :)
Dear Dad: Happy Birthday!! I wish I could have spent it with you, but I was so glad that we had our time on the phone, and happy that you and Jake get along so well when you talked. Dear Jacob: Today you sat through the cold, wind, and freezing rain to watch my colorguard practice. The practice was awful and I couldn’t give my best performance because of the weather, but having you there really did cheer me up. I still feel terrible you had to sit through that, but it just makes me all the more sure of how much you love me. Dear Texas weather: Fuck you.
Dear Jake: Today you came to the football game!! It made me so happy to look up into the stands during my performance and see you smiling back down at me. Again, you sat through the cold, wind, and freezing rain for me, and you earned about 1500 points for that and yesterday. I love you so much.
Dear Jake: Today I met your parents. I’m not gonna lie, I was super intimidated and nervous. But I got there and you made me feel comfortable and eased my fears. Also, we watched the Cowboys beat the Giants, so it was obviously a good day :) Dear J’s Dad: Thank you for being a Cowboys fan! I hope I didn’t disappoint anything Love’s told you about me. I hope you know just how wonderful your son is. Dear J’s Aunt: Thank you for keeping conversation up at dinner. I tend to get quiet when I’m nervous, but you kept the talking flowing and even brought up the biggest dinner conversation that saved me :) Dear J’s Mom: Please like me. Please.
Dear Math professor: I’m sorry no one showed up to class today. Matrices are awesome, you’re right, and everyone loves college algebra, I promise. Dear J: Today I went shopping with Vikki and found a perfect Christmas gift for you!! I hope you like it :) Dear Starbucks: Thank you for so loving the world that you sent your only caramel apple spice. That stuff is magical delicious. Dear Love: Today we managed to get into an orchestra performance for free! Thank you for not getting upset when we were late because I told you the wrong building, woops.
Dear Love: Today is our last together before I go home for Thanksgiving. Two days seems short, and I know I haven’t said it yet, but I know I’m going to miss you. Hopefully pumpkin pie will tide me over until you come up on Friday :) Also, thank you for not judging me for totally taking apart my room in an attempt to clean up/pack. Thank you for telling me I’m beautiful as I walk around in leggings, a comfy sweatshirt, hair in a ponytail, without one spot of make-up on. You’re a beautiful person, and I adore you.
I love you. All of you. Not just mine, not just yours, all of them. Even though Mother’s Day has already passed, since its still May I feel its appropriate to celebrate Mom’s Day. There is a reason I say ‘Mom’ and not ‘Mother’ though. A mother is simply a female that bears a child, while a mom is much more. You can be a mother and not necessarily a mom (how sad!) and you can most definitely be mom without being a mother. I believe this the same way I believe that a house is not always a home, and the place you feel most at home is not always a house.
Taking the time to actually ‘raise’ children is a huge dividing factor between moms and mothers. As sad as it is to think about on Mom’s Day, it must be remembered that there are negligent and abusive mothers out there in the world. Of course I hope that one day they become ‘moms’, but until then my biggest hope is that their children have another ‘mom’ figure to look up to. Notice I didn’t say maternal figure, and that this is what I mean by saying that a mom doesn’t necessarily need to be mother. Children of same-sex couples can most definitely still have a mom figure in their lives, regardless of whether or not they have two dads. What matters here is not sex or gender, but love. This is another dividing factor between a mom and mother- love. A mother is not required to love her children, but a mom does so unconditionally.
I call my mother ‘Mom’ because that’s what she is. She is not simply the female who gave birth to me, she is also the woman who raised me. From my very birth she (with the help of my dad of course) took it upon herself to teach me about the world, and to let me learn about it on my own as well. It is a well-known fact that are most valuable lessons are often the ones outside of the classroom, and I have been blessed with no shortage of lessons from my mother. Aside from teaching me simple life skills (how to cook, do my own laundry, write a resume, etc.) she has taught me things that cannot be measured or performed. She taught me about compassion and gratitude, sympathy and love. She taught me how to ride a bike, the best times to plant tomatoes, and the importance of patience. And there is so much more. So many lessons that I will always be grateful to her for, lessons that I only hope I will be able to pass on to my children someday. Beyond being an incredible teacher, my mom is a pair of ears when I just need to get things off my chest. She is a hand to hold when I’m nervous, a shoulder to cry on when I need it, and that extra intuition when I’m making a tough decision.
Being a mom, or parent in general, is the hardest job in the world, and that is something that I can say with confidence, despite being only 17 myself. So I’m grateful to all moms, and I hope they recognize how loved they really are. Because no matter how many times your toddler throws up on you, your 8 year-old refuses to eat his veggies, your 13 year-old tries to grow up to fast, and your 18 year-old tries to show you she can do it on her own…. You matter. You matter so much more than I think a lot of you realize. Thank you for all that you do, and Happy Mom’s Day.
Mommy, I love you :)