Dear Nanny Kid
Dear Nanny Kid,
When they placed you in my arms and entrusted me to care for you… I had no idea what I was signing up for. Yes, I felt the weight of how precious you were and my duty to love and protect you at all costs. I knew that caring for you was an honor and I took my title as “Nanny” very seriously. I also thought one of my hats would be teacher. Naturally, being an adult made me your teacher by default, right? While teaching you has been one of my greatest honors… learning from you has been my greatest reward. So thank you for all that you taught me. As you grew… I did too.
- You taught me that sometimes making memories is more important than worrying about making messes. Washing the mud out of those jeans, mopping the floor of golden colored glitter, bathing you and leaving a green ring in the tub after a finger painting session— those things are so worth it. Watching you create new masterpieces, seeing you get lost in your imagination, laughing together until it hurts…those moments will always trump the messes. A mess can be cleaned up in a matter of moments, but memories last forever.
- You taught me that strangers are actually just potential friends. I mean, we all start out as strangers if you really think about it. Some of the people who hold your heart the most were once just strangers too. Perhaps they were on the other side of town… or the country… or maybe even the world. Watching you play at the park always challenges me in the best way. There is something so pure about seeing someone around your height and just deciding that you will be besties. No judgmental barriers or walls of distrust. Just hours of belly laughter, sharing snacks, and being sandcastle architects.
- You taught me to find the magic in everyday. If you don’t slow down just a bit.. life can seem like a marathon. Running from deadline to deadline or bill to bill. Sometimes the most magic can be found simply by being still. A mud puddle can turn into a raging sea, a laundry basket can become a space shuttle that takes you on a tour of our solar system, and broom can turn into a horse that gallops you into a far off kingdom. Always pick up that broom, you never know if there is a dragon you’ll need to slay.
- You taught me to slow down and take the world in. When you were a toddler, I would sometimes get frustrated at the time it would take for us to walk from one end of the street to the other. You would take 3 steps, pick up a twig, and marvel at it as if it were the only twig on the face of the planet. It was as if your little mind was convinced that you had just made a life changing discovery. The truth was, you had. It was the first time you had seen a twig. Your wonder in the little things always challenged me. Nature is so worth slowing down to be in awe over. It truly is amazing.
- You taught me what unconditional love means. Though my heart was overflowing for you on the daily- you loved me even better. Some days that were harder than others, you would instinctively know that I needed a sweet little hug. You may have been little, but your hugs were fierce. I loved you so much that sometimes following through with discipline hurt my heart more than it hurt yours. You were so secure in the fact that I adored you that you never questioned my love for you and always bounced back quickly.
- You taught me that I’m more capable than I thought. Sometimes life is difficult… but I can do hard things. Being a nanny forces you to become a Jill-of-all-trades. Packing lunches, trying new Pinterest recipes for picky eaters, dressing babies, bathing children, driving them to sports, doing homework, cleaning, sewing, doing laundry, kissing boo boos, checking for head lice, comforting scared little ones, settling fights between siblings, disciplining, spending quality time with each child, cuddling, checking for monsters under the bed, cutting nails, braiding little girl’s hair, checking teeth brushed, making school projects, helping floss, soothing teething babies, caring for sick children, parent teacher conferences, teaching how to tie shoe laces, wiping boogies, following through, singing lullabies, and all the things. Nannies learn to do it all by themselves, and it can be exhausting. I’ll tell you a secret though— It’s 100% worth it… even on the hard days.
- You taught me to dance like no one is watching. I am not quite sure at what point we as grownups lose the ability to experience life completely unbridled. Watching you dance completely off beat to the sound of boardwalk buskers brought me to tears. I closed my eyes and tried to remember when the last time was that I felt that free. I made a decision that that afternoon to live with less fear and I joined you. I don’t regret it.
- You taught me to be brave. As you grew so did your heart for justice. Watching you intervene when you saw bullying happen made a fire rise up inside of me. You can do hard things, and so can I. Standing up for others with no voice is one of the most courageous things we can do in life.
- You taught me how important it is to always better myself. Kids are like sponges, constantly taking in everything around them. Little eyes are always watching and little ears are always listening… it is so important to model a life worth following. Thank you for stretching me and making me stronger everyday.
- You taught me to dream big again. Big expansive dreams that can feel impossible. The ones that feel impossible are usually the ones that change the world for the better. Watching you bring your dreams alive on blank sheets of paper with watercolors and words was contagious. I have found myself journaling on the daily. Penning out the things my heart burns for. Not only does it motivate me to help others, but doing things I love repairs my nanny heart and helps eliminate burnout.
You have taught me to be teachable and to look for teachers all around me, sweet Nanny Kid. That is possibly one of the greatest lessons I have ever learned and for that I am grateful.
Nickey Andree is a professional career nanny with 14+ years experience working with children from all over the globe. She is the founder of The Nannyhood. The Nannyhood creates community and fosters friendships for nannies in their cities. It advocates for, resources, and places value on Nannyhood. She is passionate about helping nannies find their squad and assisting them in eliminating burnout. When she is not nannying, you can find Nickey singing Disney songs at the top of her lungs, leaving out gifts for strangers, or exploring new places.