Last year, I had a really rough reality thrown at me: the nursing school I wanted to go to wouldn't accept two of my credits until the current year was up, which was after their deadline. Which means that I wasn't going to get in - at least, not for another year. Then we got kicked out of our apartment. Three girls+a 2x2 stackable washer and dryer= clothes thrown literally everywhere. We had to move, and I had to find my first job ever, all in the same month.
I'm incredibly greatful my parents still chose to support me through it. We found a wonderful home we still live in now, which I clean fervently on a regular basis. Finding work was a little different, though. When I first contemplated getting a job, I realized that I had never really had one. I worked at my karate studio for a fee summers, volunteeres at our local library, but I knew that kind of experience wasn't going to get me work. I turned in over 30 applications in a day - I literally parked my car and walked down North shore - sort of like Chattanooga's little strip area. No one called back.
I hadn't been a big babysitter growing up
I was an only child, and the only people I ever watched were the kids at my karate studio, and a the child of one of my mothers coworkers. The only thing I had going for me was my CPR and first aid certification card. I didn't know if that would be enoguh, but I loved kids, and wanted to take care of one. I put my pofile up on the care.com website, and applied to probably 10 jobs in one day.
They were the first family I found, and the first one I interviewed with. They had a little girl, 16 months. She was still non-verbal, shy. Wouldnt come to me, or really even get near me. I liked them almost instantly; they reminded me of me. Dry humor, similar interests, love of card games. The time frame was perfect: one year. After that, she would go to school and so would I. I was really excited when they hired me.
Starting off was incredibly difficult, and after two weeks I was wondering if j had made the right choice. She loved her parents, and was incredibly wary of strangers. For the first two months she would sob when I would take her to the living room to play. She didn't know me, and certainly didn't like me. She cried when I arrived, usually for at least 10 minutes everytime, and was overjoyed when i left. There was a certain feeling of rejection that came with it; odd, I know. But I really adored this kid. I just didn't want her to hate me.
It took her three months to acclimate to my being there. She still wasn't exactly fond of me - she would cry for her parents probably every other day, but it usually wasn't terribly bad. Usually. Once she actually cried for half an hour. Even worse, I couldn't do anything about it. When I would try to comfort her, she would kick, and scream louder.
We had two days good, three days bad for a while. After six months, she finally stopped crying when I arrived. I think that's when my hazing was finally over and she started to actually like me.
One of the coolest parts of it all was when she finally started calling me something. It was probably around December, when she was really starting to talk. I was fiddling with something on her bed when she came up to me, handed me a book, and said "Read, Treea".
Now she actually calls me Treena, sometimes Atreena. She'll get the Ka part eventually.
Its been a year since I started, and in August, we'll both be onto different journeys. But I can't begin to explain how big of an impact this experience has had on me. It's been difficult, frustrating, and wonderful. Learning how to be a part of her life has been one of my biggest challenges, but I've learned more about kids, parenting, and patience than I ever thought I would. She's taught me more than she'll ever know about two year olds: how they cry about literally nothing, how they find the strangest things funny, and about how much freaking fun they can really be.
Leaving this job is going to be extremely hard. When you're with something 20 hours a week, you bond with it. I bonded a lot with her, and I feel like she's bonded with me, too. I know I'm still going to see her, but its going to be hard not seeing her everyday.
I know she won't remember me. She won't remember all the fun we had, that time she painted all over my face, or the time she spilt an entire thing if bubble soap on herself and cried for like 20 minutes, or even today, when she jumped into my chin and busted my lip. She won't remember all the towers we built, or the books we read, or the pictures we drew. She'll look at the toy fox I gave her for Christmas one day, and won't remember where it came from. I'll fade to ghost in the back of her mind as she grows up.
And as painful as that is, I know that I will never forget those things, or my time as her nanny for a year.