Dear Abby: A Love Letter to My Nanny

Dear Abby,

Three months. That’s how long I got for my maternity leave. I knew exactly how long I’d have at home with my sweet baby, and exactly when I would have to go back. I would have loved to quit work and stay at home with my tiny bundle of joy, but we wanted to be able to give our children a certain kind of life, and that would take two incomes. So I would have to go back to work. And going back to work, meant leaving my tiny (OK, not so tiny) four-month-old with complete strangers to care for her . . . and despite having months of knowing when it would happen, and trying to prepare myself, I was terrified.

I remember being annoyed when you asked to have our interview somewhere public. I didn’t really want to pack up a baby and drag her around unless I had to. I realize now that you were just being as cautious of me, a stranger, as I was of you. Then we walked into that coffee shop and met you face to face. You were smart, funny, and something about you put me at ease. We hadn’t even made it to the car before Hubby and I were agreeing on how much we liked you. Do we even need to see more? Is it possible to be one and done? Then there was the serendipitous moment when we noticed a friend’s name listed as your reference. If she trusted you, then we knew we could to. You were hired.

But despite the good feelings, and excellent references, I was still a wreck when it came time to leave our baby in the care of someone other than us. I can’t even tell you how many times I checked the security cameras, just to make sure everything was OK (sorry!). But everything was fine that day. And the next. And the next. Before I knew it, I was leaving the house without a second thought as to whether or not she would be cared for properly. You were an excellent nanny.

What I didn’t see coming is how over the course of your 3.5 years with us, you’d become so much more than what we hired you for. You didn’t just care for our baby, you loved her. You loved her as if she was one of your own. You were more of a helicopter parent then we were! You came to her birthday parties. You brought her presents. You took her out on voluntary, unpaid outings just to spend time with her. You even continued to care for her after you’d finished school and entered the rat race of 9 to 5. You loved her unconditionally and without reservation. And the more you loved her, the more we loved you.

Over time, we became friends. We worked out together. Had movie nights. After Charlie was born, you were the first to visit us in the hospital, even before I’d been moved out of the delivery room! You were almost more excited for her arrival than we were! That’s when I realized that you’d gone from just being our nanny to being a part of our family.

Now it’s your time to move on. You’re moving away and starting a new life with the man you love in another state. I honestly don’t know if this separation is harder on you or us. I’m so very happy for you as you move on to the next phase of your life. I’m excited for you to get married. Maybe even have babies of your own. I’m excited to see where life takes you. But we’ll miss you, Abby. So very much.

Thank you. Thank you for calming the nerves of a terrified new mother. Thank you for cuddling and caring for my babies as well as any mother could. Thank you for reminding Emma to say “please” and “thank you.” Thank you for trips to the splash pad and little knit hats from Peru. Thank you for your excitement as they reach their milestones and being their cheerleader as we work on new ones. Thank you for loving my babies. Thank you for being you.

We can always find another nanny, but there will never be another Abby. You are special. You are noticed. You are loved.

Thank you for everything!

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