Hello, hello, blog audience of Miss Elli VanEssen. When Elli asked me to write a guest blog on nannying, it was a sign that I’m supposed to share the tornado of destruction and rebuilding that’s been wreaking havoc in my heart concerning this topic. I have been a nanny on and off since I was about 14- stretching anywhere from a “neighborhood nanny” to the dirty-diaper-slinging-crazy-child-nanny to now, with my beautiful blonde hair, blue eyed, Spanish speaking wonder. In college when people would ask what I did I would answer “I am a nanny, but am going to school for social work…” so don’t judge me yet, because just you wait and see I will be doing some cool heart-wrenching work when I’m done. Then I graduated college and got a job working at a local women’s domestic violence shelter. The shelter consisted of overnight shifts, no money, and psychiatric breakdowns. I learned a whole lot during that time, including the fact that I will never work a job with night shifts, ever…ever again- for the sake of my own mental sanity and health. And, now, here I am again, back with my blonde haired beauty, going on a year.
I love it, I really do. It truly is a privilege to spend my days loving, shaping, and investing in this little being that tells me what to do all day long, literally. The innocence of a child can really do wonders on a cynical, sad, or tired heart. Yet, I still find myself answering the age old question the same way…. “I’m a nanny, but….” Why the but? Why do I feel that this isn’t enough or important enough to stand on it’s own. Can’t “I’m a nanny” be a complete sentence? In my self-centered, adventure seeking mind it isn’t. I planned on being somewhere cool by now, doing something big. The saying is true that comparison really is a thief of joy.
I was sitting at a diner about two weeks ago with my blonde haired beauty and her dad and I said to him “you know, I bet when I’m 35 life will really be pulled together by then…” He looked at me, like he often does, and told me how naive and ridiculous I am. Unfortunately this statement showed my true colors. I think that a masters degree or a heart-wrenching social work job or even 15 pounds lighter from now will be when I’ve really made it. Last night I fueled my love-hate relationship with Anne Lamott as I finished her book Plan B: Further Thoughts on Faith. In the last chapter as she writes about speaking at college graduations she says,
Most of your parents want you to do well, to be successful. They want you to be happy- or at least happyish. And they want you two be nicer to them, just a little nicer- is that so much to ask? They want you to love, and be loved, and find peace, and laugh and find meaningful work. But they also- some of them, a few of them (not yours- yours are fine)- they also want you to chase the bunny for a while. To get ahead, sock some money way, and then find a balance between the bunny chase and savoring your life. But you don’t know whether you’re going to live long enough to slow down, relax, and have fun, and discover the truth of your spiritual identity. You may not be destined to live a long life; you may not have sixty more years to discover and claim your own deepest truth. As Break Morant said, you have to live every day as if it’s your last, because on of these days, you’re bound to be right….
That’s the truth right there. We are not promised tomorrow. Whatever you are dreaming of, hoping that tomorrow holds, you aren’t promised to every get there. It may always be right beyond your reach. But, we do have now. We have the present. Maybe this ties in, oh so nicely, to 1 Corinthians 10:31 “So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” All. Maybe, if I get there, all might mean serving in some exotic country, but right now all means changing diapers. All means loving that little one with all the energy I have. All means really living today, appreciating today, with the thought that tomorrow may never come.
So, no more but after “I am a nanny.” Just a period. If today means studying for one more exam or serving one more table, so be it. Because today is all we have and we are called to do all for the glory of God…and to rejoice, always.