Today marks the end of an era. This morning, my beloved nanny told me that she’s moving out in January. For the past six years my family has lived in a blissful little bubble. Our house has been clean, our meals have been healthy and economical and my children have been well cared for. No, I don’t have super powers, I’m actually an appallingly disorganized person — but I did have a super nanny. She’s has been with us through thick and thin, my post-partum depression, our financial worries, and her own ups and downs have all been par for the course. But the bubble is scheduled to burst on December 15 and my little family’s going to undergo some major changes; all three of my kids will be in full-day school and our beloved Rossana (dubbed Na Na by Carson, now 7) will move on when her husband finally joins her in Canada. She’s worked so hard to upgrade her nursing credentials and I’m so excited for her new career.
When I talk to Carson, Charlotte, 9, and Peyton, 5 about the changes on the horizon I can tell they don’t really get it — the idea that life could go on without Rossana around is just too weird. Because she’s more than someone who tidies up one day a week and makes delicious Filipino food — anyone could do that. But as Peyton says, “Rossana cares and I love her.”
In the beginning
As my second maternity leave drew to a close in April 2007, I found myself unexpectedly pregnant, laid off and interviewing for a new job. In short, I was a mess. Finding quality, affordable daycare for my return to work was daunting and when I found out that a live-in nanny would only be slightly more expensive I was sold! We called an agency and sponsored Rossana’s move to Canada from the Philippines.
At first, sharing our home was pretty bizarre but shortly after her arrival Rossana won everyone’s undying devotion when she nursed us through a bad bout of the stomach flu — on her days off! I was chronically depressed back then and I found getting through the day pretty overwhelming — the idea of keeping up with two toddlers while I felt like dirt was enough to bring me to tears. When Rossana calmly took charge of the kids so my husband and I could take care of us, I knew she was a keeper.
Part of our family
On the days Rossana works for us she quietly creeps upstairs and greets each of my children with a kind word and a hug. She makes a point of taking them out on exciting adventures around town and she’s never too tired to play. She sends most of her money home to her family but she always seems to have enough to buy a treat here or a birthday gift there.
I sometimes joke that my kids would take either of us in a pinch, but I’m not really kidding. Rossana changed their diapers, kissed their boo boos and taught them how to speak right alongside me and she’s more like a doting aunt than a nanny.
When ever we discuss her leaving, Rossana and I inevitably end up bawling — we’ve been such a huge part of each other’s lives for so long that saying goodbye will undoubtedly be very difficult. And while I sometimes try to tell how much she means to us I’ve never found an adequate way to thank her for helping me raise my babies.
I know we’ll stay in touch but the idea of losing the Zen force that keeps our household running smoothly is haunting me. Rossana is like my wife, she picks up the pieces when I crumble, cooks when I would otherwise have ordered takeout and keeps her cool with the kids when I’m about to lose it.
I am so lucky to have shared this special time of my life this sweet and unassuming woman who just slipped into our family and saved us from ourselves day after day.
**This article first appeared in Canadian Family earlier this year, but today I got the actual date, so I’m raw and sad and thrilled for her.