By Feature Writer Rebecca Nelson Lubin
I met Sierra in 1997 when I arrived for my meet the children interview for what was to be my first full time Nanning job. She was four years old, with blond hair cut short like a boy’s, huge brown eyes and a tiny little body barely grown beyond the perfect roundness of toddlerhood. She lived with her sister Willow, a lanky five-year-old with equally huge brown eyes, and her dad Jim, who was raising them alone after a divorce. Being a transplanted New Yorker, I couldn’t quite grasp the concept of a Single Dad, but hey, this was San Francisco. Things were different out west, even though I was quite certain that had my dad been left to raise me alone in the 70’s, he would have surely lost me before a week went by.
My first day with Sierra was a bust. I should have been warned that she was a Scorpio with a spirit filled with pure fire, but I might have declined the position had I known what was in store for me. I managed to get her out of her pajamas after breakfast, but could not convince her to get dressed for preschool. For three hours I pleaded and cajoled and sweated that I would be let go on my very first day of being a full time Nanny while she sat and screamed at me in defiance, clad only in GAP extra small purple checkered underwear, occasionally standing up to yell “Go Away!” and whack her head against her armoire doors in anger. She soon had a large red welt on her defiant little forehead.
Jim poked his head in the doorway of her room and smiled.
“Don’t worry,” he said, “you’re being tested.”
I was indeed. But I held my ground – for weeks – and Sierra evened out eventually when she saw I wasn’t going to cave. We grew very close very quickly. I would arrive at her house at 6:45 each morning and tiptoe upstairs to find her and her sister curled up with their dad in his bed, the three of them all sleepy with messy hair. He would carry them to the breakfast table where Sierra would promptly hide her vitamins under her napkin and Jim would read to the girls from the New York Times while they munched on orange slices and competed on who would feed him his pills. I learned slowly over those first weeks that Jim, aged 58, suffered from a heart condition. He had had a heart attack a few years back and confided in me during my first weeks that he feared he would not be around long enough to walk his girls down the aisle at their weddings, but he hoped to at least see them thorough college graduation. I quickly grew devoted to the three of them.
Rebecca Nelson Lubin is a writer and Nanny who resides in the San Francisco Bay Area. You may read more of her articles at http://www.abandofwives.ning.com/
TO READ THE REST OF REBECCA'S STORY: CLICK HERE