Any kind of grief is incredibly difficult to write about — putting words to paper makes everything that much more real. My wife and I recently “lost” two little girls — they’re still very much alive, but we’re no longer part of their lives. Victoria, my wife, was their nanny.
Victoria had worked for the family for six months. She was in charge of a two-year-old and an infant from eight thirty to five thirty, four days a week. She watched the older girl begin speaking much more, and watched the younger hold her head up and learn to sit upright. While I wasn’t nearly as physically involved, I was emotionally entrenched in the lives of these two girls. I also have my “own” children — two-year-old twins whom I care for, and we had playdates with Victoria’s girls weekly. When I wasn’t with my own kids, I was with her. I loved those kids, too.
Last week the girl’s parents told Victoria that they had unexpectedly found someone else to watch them. They stressed that they had not in any way been looking — this kind of fell into their laps. The family has known from the beginning that Victoria is completing her Master’s degree in Montessori Education and she would only be available for a few years. On top of that, her time was divided between the girls and her classes. When a family friend’s children went to school, they were all talking about the nanny they didn’t need anymore. It turns out this nanny was the quintessential nanny — the one who stays with families for eight years and has been doing this for three decades.
While we don’t completely understand the decision, we don’t harbor any ill feelings towards the parents of the girls. We can understand how they came to the conclusion that the new nanny would be better in the long run — but many tears have been shed (by both parties). The mother of the girls has promised us that she still wants us involved in their lives — she’s said we’re family. We appreciate that, and we want to stay.
Of course, none of that changes the fact that two little girls were ripped from us last week. None of that changes the sense of loss of the tears we’ve both shed. The mother of the twins I watch told me once that she loved how invested I was in her kids, and that she didn’t understand acquaintances who worried the nanny would get “too close.” Getting involved is just how Victoria and I work — if we’re going to be with your children, we’re going to to love them like you do. We’re going to throw ourselves into their lives. It’s the most rewarding way to be — we couldn’t do it any other way.
This makes it much harder when we get abruptly expelled. I’ve had a family move away, and I’ve had another where the Grandma unexpectedly came to live with them. This isn’t the first time this has happened, but it’s the worst. The sense of loss is huge. I know we’ll see the girls on occasion, and they are alive and well and happy, but we are mourning the loss of relationship. Victoria won’t see the baby start crawling or the toddler start preschool. We’re mourning goodbyes that come from out of the blue, and learning how to pick our hearts up off the floor.