A year and a half ago I was a little lost (like many of us millennials), having just quit my secure, stable, 9-5 job after only 6 months and completely unmotivated to do anything else.
The one thing that drew my attention was being with children. That had never been a particularly burning desire of mine before so I wasn’t sure why that was suddenly so important to me but it was and it was also the only lead I had to go off of for potential jobs.
I looked around online and ended up being interviewed for a nannying job for a 3-year -old and 6-month-old. What caught my attention about this particular ad was that they wanted their girls to be ‘classy’ and my blog is ‘first class act’ so.. duh.
A few weeks later I was at basically a stranger’s house, completely responsible for the tiny human I was holding gingerly in my arms.
I never would have imagined how much joy being with children brought me. I loved being in the home, going out with my them, drawing the attention of passerby’s, laughing at their many antics. Ultimately I never would have imagined how much these little ones had to teach me.
Children are precious.
They are messy and gross and stubborn and imaginative and easily amused and manipulative and irrational and excitable and affectionate and impresionable and observant and sweet and curious and gentle and reckless. They are so valuable and in the end a reminder of how priceless human life is, something we should never take for granted.
Children are wonder-full.
They are so full of wonder and amazed at everything. For the past few months, every single day that Sally and I walked outside she stopped to point out a bit of moss embedded on some bark on the ground. Every day. She was so impressed by the small, soft patch of green and has not ceased to be excited by it. It’s so easy to become jaded as we get older, but this childlike wonder is I think a quality we should really strive to hold on to.
Children are trusting.
One of the most valuable things I learned, especially from Sally, was how to trust. Sally had zero control over the fact that I was to be her caretaker for most of the day, 3 days a week. She was completely dependent on me to survive for those hours. We like to think that we are independent once we get older, and in a sense we are. However, we will never cease to rely on others for comfort, security, even love. We were made to be in relationship with others, and that requires a significant amount of surrender. We have to surrender what we want for the good of the other; we have to surrender our independence for the sake of the ‘we’; we have to risk getting hurt in order to achieve intimacy. We trust that the other person will love us- despite all our shortcomings- and that while we will get hurt some along the way, the end result of being loved intimately is worth it. Sally still comes to sit in my lap demanding that I read her a book -or 10-. She has no qualms approaching me, knowing that I will hold her, trusting in my care for her.
Family life is everything.
Being invited to witness the Schumann’s life was such a privilege. As a twenty-something with divorced parents and mostly single friends, the concept of a mom and Dad who are married, working together to raise their children is not one I come across super often. It truly is one of the most important things we have in life: the opportunity to love, to be loved and to teach others to love. Family life is the most effective way to do this and without it we are lost. Getting married is not ‘settling down’. Your life isn’t over because you can’t get drinks with friends every night of the week. Responsibility isn’t the end of fun, it is the beginning of growth. Some of my absolute favorite times with Nicholas have been when we took care of other people’s children together. It was so rewarding (and fun), so beautiful to be focused on something other than just ourselves, to be working together toward a higher goal.
In providing for others, putting their needs before our own and making yourself a gift to others, we experience authentic joy (despite challenges) and even more importantly, become better people. Because if we are not bettering, loving more, than what are we doing?
I am so incredibly grateful for this experience. Here’s to kids who taught me more than I’ll ever be able to teach them.