Fun fact: the literal translation of au revoir is “until we next see each other”.
The week ahead is going to be a big one. Really big. Sad big.
See, I’m leaving a job I adore – out of choice – because I want to pursue a job which is more career-oriented. I have been nannying my little girl for close to two years and my lord have they been brilliant. I’ll still see her family on a regular basis, but I feel heartbroken knowing that this is our last week together.
Being a nanny can, in some ways, be mildly petrifying. Not only because you have the responsibility of looking after a little life, but because whether or not you want to, you know that you will be influencing and shaping that little life. And frankly, I don’t always have my sh!t together. Frightening stuff.
So, I want to write an open letter to my little girl… my sweet peach, darling girl, bubble, rascal, honey bear, roo roo.
My darling Roo,
This is our last week together, bubble, and I don’t want Friday to come.
I know we’ll still see each other often (minimum once a fortnight as promised), but I know that my new job will not bring me the immense joy which I receive when I’m with you. I won’t be paid to laugh, to go on adventures, give you hugs, to sing in the car or do weird science experiments together – but you know I’d do all of that for free. Anyway, I won’t be paid to do your washing anymore either – so I guess there are one or two perks.
I don’t think that I am necessarily an exemplary or well-qualified role-model, honey bear, but I’d be ignorant to think that all of the time we’ve had together hasn’t left an imprint upon both of us. Some of those things I hope you haven’t picked up from me (we won’t go into them now), but I do hope that you have learnt some helpful things from our time together…
- I know you bemoan the fact that I am constantly onto you about a) chewing with your mouth closed and b) not using your fingers to eat instead of cutlery, but there may be a time when you are about fifteen when you’ll go out for dinner with your friends for the first time. Very grown up. During dinner you may observe that some of your peers are talking whilst eating and have their elbows on the table and you may feel a tad awkward watching them. Look, it’s not life or death, but basic table manners are an important social skill – and that’s why we bother to correct yours now.
- It’s good to do things which aren’t on screens. I know you love playing on your iPod and iPad, but there are lots of things which are as, if not more, engaging, stimulating and fun which are not made of pixels – like your hula-hooping, drawing and singing. You may even find that life is more fun when you lift your eyes from the screen. (And yes, I need to do more of this myself).
- There have been times when you’ve encountered mean people. It sucks to be hurt and rejected by others, sweetheart. I hope it helps you to remember something that we’ve discussed together: we can’t change that person, but what we can do is to ask ourselves “what can I learn from them?” And what we can learn is to not be like them. To quote one of my favourite books, The Bike Lesson, “This is what you should not do, so let that be a lesson to you.”
- It doesn’t matter whom you love, darling. It’s fine to love girls or boys or no-one. If you do end up married or in a long-term relationship later on in life, that’s lovely – but having a partner does not make you any more or less valuable a person. You will always be loved immensely by mummy, daddy, your friends, family and I.
- I know you can be cautious about trying new things, peach, but if you don’t try new things how will you ever find out whether you like something? When you do try something new remember to be kind to yourself – it’s unlikely that you’re going to ace it straight away. You need to practice and persevere. In saying that, it’s important to know your limitations. I know you’ll smash the green monkey bars and be ready for the pirate ship ride at Luna Park one day, honey.
- Something which I’ve learnt over the past six years is that perfection, in my opinion, is not truly attainable… and if something is “perfect” it’s probably not going to be much fun. Perfection’s pretty boring. My advice? Don’t chase after perfection – it will leave you disappointed.
- You are wonderful just the way you are, my love. There will probably be times in the future when you wish you were shorter or you didn’t have glasses. You may wish that you were more popular or smarter than someone else in your class. Everyone has different strengths, Roo, and we each have our own character – that’s part of what makes life interesting. Imagine how boring it’d be if we were all the same! You have been blessed with a wonderful sense of humour and a kind, generous heart and they are things which I didn’t and couldn’t ever teach you – this is innately who you are and I hope it never changes.
I’m sorry for all of the times when I’ve been impatient or self-centred. (See: the list of things which I hope you don’t pick up from me). You are probably unaware of it, but you often bring out the best in me. When I’ve had down days I’ve been able to drive over to your place knowing that just being with you would lift me out of my rut. That’s the kind of person that you are. And I’ve spent the past year and nine months thinking that I’m the luckiest girl in the world to have you in my life.
See you on Tuesday morning, peach. I love you very much.
Your Alexie x