Some days I look back at the first parts of my nanny career. I think about all the children I have been with. I can find a blessing within each one of them. Sometimes it is a blessing of patience but a lot of times, they bless me with their little selfs.
Lets talk about one who was a true blessing to me. I met this little girl back in 2006. I wasn't sure what was entailed as I had never fully be one on one with a child who had a disability. Sure I had worked in a setting where I "helped" with a physically and mentally disabled child, but never one on one by myself for 7 hours a day. I wasnt scared persay- but I was more so curious as to what would come of everything. Would there be communication barriers? Would I have to speak differently? Would I have to do 3 separate routines? (because there was one older, and a infant along with her). Would I even know how to help if the verbal skills were none?
Little did I know that I was about to be taught something, not teach.
For the sake of privacy we will call this little girl flower. Because there are still turds out there in cyberspace who are disgusting (and if I ever find you trolling here, you will have hell to pay) but I digress Flower from the first day let me know that I was the dumb one. I was stupid for even thinking there was a remote possibility for having to do something differently with her. Sure I had to say things more than once, but seriously tell me what kid you DONT have to do that with. The first day I was there, I was instantly told "NOOOOOOOOOOOO"... not "no" but with emphasis on the "O" part when I went to buckle her into her booster seat. This was foreign territory for me- as I was the one to do this, but Flower quickly showed me who was in charge. LOL!
She also taught me to slow down while going full force. What the means is, I dont need to always have the control of fast while diving into something full throttle. Let me explain this. Flower liked to go into Q's room and take all the books off the shelf. And when I say all, I mean ALL. I would pick them up multiple times a day. I am sure that the parents thought I just left them there all day, whereas in reality that right there was a 10,000 pick up game every 10 minutes. No joke. But, I would try and put them back smallest to biggest, and or color coded for easier access for the other two. Why did I try? Flower made it apparent that was not the way things were to be handled. The best way to do clean up was to get the job done. Not to organize. There is no organization in life. But there are ways to live it with minimal organization. Not to say the books were not a thorn in my side, but she did let me see the wonder of the actual stories through the pictures, not just the words. She would surround herself with these books, pick them up, flip the book from hand to hand studying the cover, and then go through the book with detail. Every color, shape, animal, person, line meant something. It meant something to her and it started meaning something to me. I could see the depth and how it spoke to her. I could see the colors and how they pulled her world together. Through those almond shaped eyes, she saw something magical.
She also taught me that opinions matter, no matter how young you are. She was always there to give hers, whether it was wanted at that time or not. While it might have not been savored at that moment, it was thought provoking. Maybe not always through exact words of her swollen tongue, but it intended something. She spoke to me in ways that I was not used to. Through the use of her hands. Yes, sign language. The use of the hands are amazing. She taught me the worth of a word unspoken but gestured. She was the one who would sneak candy when I wasnt looking to coat that puffy tounge with sugar. She was my sweetness in life.
She taught me what love was. Unconditional love. She taught me that through the frustration, I am always going to be given a hug, a bright smile that makes the eyes disappear into the face. That through the "Nooooooooooo's" (the extra o's are imperative) and the stubborn as a mule attitude about doing things her way, not mine are welcomed. And that through the light of the soul, it can be born into what society breeds as normal.
Today she is thriving- in kindergarten. She is talking great. She is doing awesome in her school. When I did get to see her last she said my name with such clarity I almost cried. She sat on my lap the entire time she was with me and just stroked my face and said my name. It melted my heart. I had missed her. The other two were strange around me for a bit (and the fact that E was a baby when they left and now she was full throttle saying my name and having full conversations with me just threw me for a loop) but they warmed up quicly.
I have seen Flower that 1 time in person since they have moved away. I see thousands of pictures of Flower and her brother and sister, Q and E. And its not that I love Q and E any less, however I had to share the joy of what I was given. That is sometimes the brutal part of this job. They go away. You lose the people you care about. The family as a whole. The parents who are great. the kids who rock your world. However you can hope you leave a mark. But what really happens is that they leave a mark on you.
Flower does not have a disability. She has an ability to show people who they really are. To bring out the real 'you'. To show that the fears or the questions you have really are easier than you make them. That it might be the hardest thing in the world to let go of your ways...and see that others are actually doing it right.