Friday, June 12, 2009

Practically Perfect In Every Way

. .
Picture me: reclined in a sleek black leather chair, a sea of cool limestone under my bare feet, a uniform of faded blue jeans and frayed tee so comfy it makes feety pajamas pine for simpler days. The temperature is precisely one degree above chilly. To my right, ice cubes clink lazily in a tall glass of coffee, a whisper of Starbucks liqueur camouflaged beneath the surface. To my left, a wall of plate glass stands sentry against noise, granting access only to the occasional chirp of a passing finch. A silver-gray sky diffuses the sun so gently even my pupils kick back and put up their feet.

Just beyond the glass wall, a Japanese Maple quivers and sways in the still spring air, its limbs stirred by six hidden arms and as many legs, rising and descending tirelessly. My five-year-old and his two best friends since birth are climbing a tree. And the meter is running.

An hour ago, my three amigos gathered around the kitchen island to make chocolate chip cookies, alternately stirring and licking, stirring and licking. And the meter ran. Before that, a trip to the park, or the pool, or even my own house, where my only child is endlessly entertained by his newfound brothers. And the meter? Ka-ching, ka-chang, ka-chung. My official title is nanny, but I can't shake the feeling that I'm more of a grifter, conning nice people into paying me to take my kid on playdates, all day, every day, all summer long.

. . . .

To understand just how over the moon I am about this arrangement, you need a bit of background. I've wanted to be a mom since I was 12, but apparently, God lost His copy of the itinerary. When my fourth decade got under way having produced little more than a steady stream of Mr. Wrongs and a couple of tragic miscarriages, a seemingly simple dream began to feel frighteningly elusive. Teaching seemed a logical Plan B. That way, at least I'd have kids in my life. And if motherhood finally did mosey along, I'd have the perfect schedule to maximize the mommy/child time ratio. Now, after taking the scenic route to motherhood, I intend to loiter as long as he'll have me. And so far, he wants me around as much as I want him.

Picture my five-year-old: waking up in his mommy's arms; tagging along with her as she heads to work; sharing breakfast, lunch and dinner; playing and wrestling and swimming and running in the sprinklers with boys he would have hand selected given the choice, all with his mama just a "Watch me!" away. If we lived at Disney, I don't think he could be any happier. And all the while, amazingly, the meter runs.

If you aren't convinced yet that this is just short of miraculous, consider the folks on the other end of the time clock, the nice people with challenging jobs that don't mesh so well with noisy boys and endless summer activity. Astonishingly enough, they seem just as thrilled at their end of the bargain. Some days, I swear I can see a wisp of smoke as they sprint past me in the driveway on their way to grown up endeavors that involve gleaming laptops and steaming coffee rather than soggy swim trunks and melting popsicles. You've never seen a person so tickled to write a fat check.

It almost makes me feel guilty. Don't they know?

I'd do it for this.
. .


Judy said...

While I can't "relate," I do love it that you are so contented ... read that ecstatic, with your nanny gigs.

Daniel is the most cherished kiddo I know and the kids you care for are pretty darn lucky too! So are their parents. They could have gotten someone like me to take care of their children. ( least they would learn discipline and be well fed!)

Jomama said...

Sounds like a great arrangement all around. You clearly love your work, you are likely a dream come true for the working parents too.