In the midst of all this introspective contemplation, I’m coming across ways that my perspective needs sanctification, and ways that I have been living with a sense of entitlement about what I should have to do with my life. As I’m sitting down to recant my days as a Nanny in the San Francisco Bay, I’m realizing that this was actually one of my secret life long dreams, and something I never really thought would happen; something I wasn’t sure I could really do, but seemed rad ~ nannying in a “big” city. It kind of hurts my heart when I realize how arrogant and ungrateful I am when God blesses me with different experiences for growth wrapped in the also-good gift of provision, but He is so full of mercy and I am learning to count trials of various kinds as all joy and grace upon grace.
There was actually a little bit overlap between my nanny gig, and I thought working for the law firm, but it’s not all making sense in my mind. I don’t know if I’m forgetting some random job I had or what, but I distinctly remember nannying at the same time that I was working somewhere else because I felt all fabulous like a hustler. I’m tempted to say it was a job I got after I started nannying, or like yeah I honestly don’t remember.
See what had happened was this:
Three Mays ago I was a recently motherless college graduate on the verge of destitution and trying desperately to come up with some semblance of a workable life plan with a few acute resource shortages. Primarily ~ so I thought ~ not having a car. Because that is literally the worst for someone trying to have a life in North Carolina. ha. One of the waters upon which I decided to scatter my bread was Care.com, which is like monster/indeed/linkedin for nannies. So I made myself a Care.com account and tried to doctor up my experience as default older sibling/cousin baby sitter and make it sound like I had been awesome at nannying for years. Which is actually true, it’s just that as a writer I am often amused by the way our words make such an enormous difference. You can either be like, yeah my aunt used to drop her kids off at my house in the summer; or you can enumerate the countless educational escapades you led for a group of four children to libraries and pools, teaching them to make their own meals (mostly so you wouldn’t have to do everything…even though I loved playing mama bear most of the time, but in hindsight probably because I was just controlling haha), and coming up with imaginary games (to keep yourself entertained).
I went with the more elaborate and flattering option, but called one of my aunts to let her know some random lady might call her asking about the nanny she had, haha. My aunt responded by buying me a plane ticket to come live in California with my sister. Bless. I guess once I got to California and couldn’t find a job for eight months I must’ve updated the location on my Care.com profile in search of a family to serve, because one day out of the blue I got an email from a lovely couple that was looking for a nanny for their sweetie pie blonde haired baby in Downtown San Francisco.
Initially I tried to talk them out of it because I typically don’t think I have what it takes in life, just in general. But also there were several little caveats that were logistically overwhelming to me and sometimes I am a slave to the idyllic possibility of simplicity. For one thing, this turned out to be a nanny share, which means two families and, in this case, two babies. And the family that contacted me would actually be moving across the the country in about two months. On the one hand I was kind of stoked because I had just been praying about how God, it would be so cool if I had twins when I get married wouldn’t it? And now was my chance to have a prefabricated basically-twins experience. How fun. But it was like, San Francisco and what am I going to do with two babies in San Francisco, I can hardly take care of my own self in San Francisco. So I told them, you know I don’t know if this would be the best fit for me. And the dad told me, don’t sell yourself short! You went to Carolina! haha. So I told my sister and our friend, Cryn that I was going to this address in the city to allegedly interview with this family about being their nanny so if I don’t get home by like, 8pm call the police. haha.
Y’all, they were such a sweet couple. I really just wanted to be best friends with them, so I agreed to be their nanny sight unseen of the other family. But they were like, well you should still go meet them at their house in case our little guy is sick one day and you have to end up nannying at their place (which actually happened, unfortunately for their little guy).
The other family had a little girl who was I think a month or so older than their little guy (so about 14 months old), and way more aggressive and wild. But she was also a brilliant girl who was sweet most of the time if you set the right environment. For her, that meant lots and lots of music and books to look at.
So I traipsed to their house one Sunday afternoon and it took me over an hour on public transportation to get there, and then I got lost wandering around the wrong residential area in the homestretch and I think they had to come rescue me in their car? Or maybe I found my way. I don’t remember. haha. I’m pretty sure I found my way there. But I do remember thinking, nah this ain’t for me. haha. When they found out where I was coming from they were like, oh yeah that’s far I guess we could pick you up from BART if you have to nanny here.
So yeah. They loved me too and arrangements were made. I tried to quit after my first day (y’all, I never realized how much of a quitter I am. ugh.) but they were like, oh it was your first day it will get better. But I think it’s not so much that I’m a quitter, as I am well acquainted with myself and I like for my life and my obligations to feel manageable at all times. I kind of new that nannying “twins” really just wasn’t going to work for me. I think with nanny shares it’s particularly challenging because the parents aren’t always on the same page about what they want to have happen during the day and scheduling, but they usually don’t want to communicate with each other about it. Hell, two parents of the same child aren’t even always on the same page let alone four parents of two children. So I sat down my first family that I loved and wanted to be best friends with and was like, listen. I love your little guy but that little girl is a tyrant. haha. And I tried to be the nanny to just their family, and the dad tried to dissuade me by saying it would be a pay cut because the rate was for both babies and I was like I don’t give a damn. Can’t put a price on my peace of mind. Ha I didn’t actually say that, obviously. But then they felt guilty about leaving the other family high and dry or whatever. So again, my memory is fuzzy but the following things happened:
1. Their little guy had a seizure and was hospitalized for a few days, during which I nannied the other little girl at her house, and her parents came and picked me up at the BART and her mom tried to convince me to go back to school so I could make more money in life.
2. After the little guy was better (or maybe before he fell ill), I ended up just nannying for them for a week or so, and then I would nanny for them on the weekends. I don’t know where the little girl was, I think their family went on vacation or something. But those days were such good ones and the little guy and I had such a good time and I probably got paid the full rate and we would met up with his parents at Yerba Buena for lunch. And they kind of made fun of me for getting sketched out by the people smoking weed around my sweetie pie little blonde baby. It was kind of funny when they showed up I was like scampering trying to move the little guy to a different area of the park and his mom was like, hey is everything ok? And I was just like, yeah I just wanted some…better air for him.
3. The weekend nanny days were fun because it was just a few hours and we would go on mini outings while his parents packed up the house.
4. I ended up writing a children’s book inspired by wearing my sweetie pie blonde baby boy down Folsom up the Embarcadero, and strolling him down Howard over by 4th to where the Metreon and the Children’s play space are located.
5. I realized that nannying is not exactly the best fit for me, but it was so so good and I wouldn’t trade those days for anything.
Y’all, I really fell in love with that family. His parents were so cool and we’d have some good conversations and they tried to pawn half their stuff off on me when they were moving and it was such a beautiful gift to me to be able to love on and care for two of God’s tiny gifts to mankind. Especially when the little guy was in the hospital, it was a blessing to be available to his family and let them know that my friends and I were praying for them. And it was a blessing to be able to help them transition in life. Around the little guy’s birthday I sent them an email and they gave me a little update on how he was doing and a picture. Y’all, he has the eyelashes of life and is definitely already a charmer.
Overall, I think the experience of being a nanny was one of the most concise seasons in which awkwardness created space for me to become a better version of myself because I let it* (reluctantly).
~ nanny b
* adapted quote from my art sensei, Blaine Hogan.