This week, our family will say goodbye to a woman who has helped raise our children since they were born.  Avery has been our nanny for almost six years, and because the kids will be in school full days this year, her position has come to an end.  I’ve been bracing myself for what will undoubtedly be a difficult goodbye for all of us.

When we were nearing the end of our pregnancy with Mollie and trying to decide what to do for childcare, hiring a nanny seemed like the best option for us.  When Mollie was born, we started the interview process and found quite a few potential candidates online.  But after meeting with the first candidate, I burst into tears, saying there was no way I’d be able to leave my baby with someone else.  Still, we decided to continue the process, and interviewed a couple other women I also wound up not being crazy about.  Then we interviewed Avery…and it just clicked.  While a tiny baby Mollie slept in her car seat on the floor of Starbucks, Avery, my husband and I hit it off.  I realized that it wasn’t that I couldn’t have someone else watching my child, I just hadn’t found the right someone else.  We were thrilled when she accepted our offer, and found out later that there was another family in the running, so obviously I’m thrilled she chose us!

Right from day one, everything was easy with Avery.  She respected the way we parented, but also felt comfortable enough to offer advice and suggest other ways of doing things.  We appreciated that advice and took it often.  Avery always rolled with the punches, even when Mollie was eight months old and we told her, “Surprise, we’re eight weeks pregnant!”  Her workload would soon double, caring for two children, 15 months apart.  But again, she took it in stride, took on the challenge, and exhibited more patience than I’ve ever seen in a human being.  I think I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve seen her frazzled.  I’m sure there have been more but she rarely shows it.

When Avery had her own child, we were thrilled for her and were happy to let her bring the baby with her twice a week.  Her daughter Hannah soon became a playmate for Mollie and Jacob.  In fact, she and Jacob are so close that we worry about how the two of them will function without seeing each other as often as they have for the past two and a half years.  I’ll miss that little voice walking in and saying, “Hi Jakie, Mollie!”

Almost every day for the past six years, Avery has arrived at our house and walked into whatever chaos is happening at that moment.  She’s taken a breath and dived right in to the insanity.  And she hasn’t “just” been our nanny.  She’s been my therapist, listening to me as I vent about work, relationships, and whatever else is on my mind, and offering some pretty great advice.  She’s been a cook, baker, housekeeper, chaffeur, errand runner, organizer, teacher.  The list goes on and on.  I honestly have no idea how I’m going to work full time and do all the things she’s been doing for our family.  I’m actually going to have to do my own grocery shopping.  The horror.

Saying goodbye is going to be impossible.  I told her I’m going to say “see ya later” because that’s easier and more accurate.  She’ll still live a half hour away, still attend church in our town, and still be around visiting people she knows in the area, running errands, etc.  But it will be different, of course.  She will always be a part of our lives, and we will never be able to thank her enough for helping us raise two pretty amazing kids.  They are who they are in large part because of her.  That decision we made in Starbucks six years ago was our best parenting decision yet.

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