Saturday, August 9, 2014

Mary Poppins

I grew up with two working parents: briefcases, power suits, Dictaphones, billable hours, stethoscopes, depos, caths, on-call nights, thirty-minute meals, and a nanny. Well technically quite a few babysitters - full-time, part-time and special guest appearance caregivers. But only two superstar sitters.
Patty was sitting on our big Bartlett Street Porch painting watercolor murals on our legs. Jumping through the sprinkler to wash our masterpieces off. Digging through the Goody Closet - a little cupboard in the basement, filled with recyclables primed for paper mache - to pick the right supplies. Tic Tacs in the armrest of a white Chevy Beretta. Sleepovers in Cranberry. Fashion shows. Matzo. And the Squirrel Hill Library.  

And Debbie.
Debbie was frosted and permed hair. White Reebok sneakers. Skipping nap time. Getting my back tickled. Speeding down the high hills of West Mifflin in a maroon Buick Monte Carlo. Pop music. Pop culture. Mountainous portions of Linguine with Clam Sauce. Four tacos. Two Big Macs. Getting my makeup done for dance recitals. And knowing how special I was to her. 

While nothing ever replaced the hugs and squeezes that my parents gave me at the end of the day; or seeing them appear in the stands of one of my field hockey games; my nannies held a unique place in my heart.  


Mary's understanding of growing up in a two-income household might be slightly different than my own. The legal and medical terms have been replaced with burgers, fries and bank statements. And there's no need to preemptively add a Dr. onto anyone's name. But it was my hope earlier this year, when we switched from day-care to a full-time nanny, that Mary would get to have a relationship similar to the ones I had.

Earlier this week, first thing Monday morning to be exact, Eva came back from vacation just as Mary and I were returning from our run. It was the first time Mary had seen her in 10 days. I didn't make it two feet into our driveway before she squirmed out of her stroller and into the arms of her beloved Nanny. She remained locked in the biggest, longest hug I've ever seen her give anyone for nearly ten minutes. I honestly thought she was going to cry.   

One of the greatest fears of a working mom is that her child will end up loving his or her care giver more than her. As I witnessed the sweet embrace of Mary's reunion with Eva, the thought flickered through my mind. And my heart. But as I drove away on Monday morning, Mary proactively saying 'bye bye' as she blew bubbles from the stoop, I didn't feel sad at all. Instead I felt relieved, thankful, and reassured of my post at my desk, on the road and behind the counter every day.  

I know I'm not always there. I know there are bubbles, bike rides, swimming lessons, songs, dances, books, flowers, picnics, and play dates that I will miss. But I love that you have someone so special to share them with. I love that you have stories and memories that are tailored for you and Eva. And Mary, I'll tell you just what my parents told me: I promise to always be there when you need me. 
For all your shows.
For all your games.
For all your commendations. 
Even for all those events scheduled by and for PTA Moms.
I promise to sing and dance with you.
To read to you.
To laugh with you.
To show you the world.  
I promise to be your personal chef. Most every night of the week.
I promise to be your running partner. Or vice versa.
And I promise to try to keep the West Wind away from Eva.


1 comment:

  1. When the children's nanny, Katie Nana, storms out in a huff, Mary Poppins arrives at their home, Mary Poppins, for onecomplete with her traveling carpetbag, blown in by a very strong wind.
    She accepts the job, and the children soon learn that their nanny, though she is stern, vain, and usually cross,