22 January, 2012
Call Me Godmother
Last February my employers and I had a conversation where we kicked around the idea of making me the legal Godparent of their two youngest children. I had told them that while I had been the Godparent to several of my friend’s children in spirit, I had never been a formal Godparent in name, and I would be humbled to be offered such an honor. As the year rolled on we kicked around the idea from time to time, but it was not until my employers had to travel internationally in October for work, leaving their progeny at home in California with me, that they visited their lawyers and made it official. I spent October 1st, my first day as Guardian and Godparent of my beloved charges baking apple pies and carving pumpkins and basking in the glow of our new special status. Every little adorable sentence held a new special significance.
My Godson, I thought, as my almost five-year-old charge spoke whimsically of the irrational attitude of Angry Birds.
My Goddaughter, I thought, gazing adoringly at the little two year old snuggling down in her crib under her little pink blankie.
I’m a Godmother, I thought as I fell asleep, scooting over for more room, as both the 11 year old and the almost five year old had insisted on having a slumber party in the master bedroom with me under the pretext of missing their parents. I didn’t care. I was exhausted from a long day of carving and baking and play dates and household commotion. When I had arrived home with the pumpkins I had found Karena, our weekend Nanny, white as a sheet, standing on the kitchen island with her cell phone in one hand and a spatula in the other. She said that she had seen a rat and that it had run under the stove when she had screamed. I called pest control, but they had not found anything. I had had a sore throat all day too, and I been sneezing. Whatever. I was so happy to be a Godmother, and with that wonderful thought, I drifted off to sleep.
I awoke some hours later with two thoughts. One: It is the middle of the night, and two: I am going to throw up. I slipped out of bed and scurried to the bathroom and assumed the position. Again, two thoughts crossed my mind. One: Wow. This toilet is incredibly clean, and two: Holy Crap my employers are in Europe and I am sick! After, shaking and feeling mightily pitiful, I quietly walked downstairs for a cold glass of water and the forehead scan thermometer, which is the most accurate one in the house. As I slid it across my forehead, I heard a curious crunching sound coming from the pantry.
I jumped up onto the kitchen island with an extraordinary spryness for someone who had just emptied the entire contents of their stomach into the master bathroom commode, and again, two thoughts crossed my mind. One: this marble surface feels divine against my feverish forehead, and two: I must close the pantry door and trap that horrific rat. Does anyone remember the movie “Close Encounters Of The Third Kind”? Remember the scene where the aliens are trying to get into the house, and the Mom realizes that they are coming down the chimney and she steels herself as she grabs for the flue, and strengthens herself as she counts to three and then slams it shut? Yeah. It was exactly like that.
I made a mental to do list as I staggered back upstairs. Call the exterminator to come back. Cancel the play dates for Sunday. Call for back up, as I had seen my fever was 102 before I had dropped the thermometer in horror at the realization of the reality of the rat.
When I woke up the next morning it was even worse. My throat ached and the glands in my neck were beyond tender and my head spun with fever and my right leg felt curiously damp where my almost five-year-old Godson was curled around me.
“I think you might have had an accident.” I croaked.
“Oh brother!” he said.
As a Nanny, I knew how I would have handled this situation. I would have called in sick and then spent a lovely day semi conscious in my very own cozy bed while addictive TV like “Keeping up with the Kardashians” droned in the background while I drifted in and out of sleep until I recovered. I might have spent an entire day like that, perhaps even two. My housemates would make a Whole Foods run for me and fetch me soup and ginger ale. My employers would send me loving texts wishing me a speedy recovery. That is how I would have handled a sudden onslaught of flu, as a Nanny.
But I was a Godmother now, and two thoughts crossed my mind,
“Get up, your Godson needs a bath.” was the first.
“This is a huge responsibility.” Was the second.
I have often wondered where parents gathered the strength to conquer exhaustion, and overcome illness and transcend tribulation to do the best by their children. I had, at times, theorized that there must be a hormone that is released upon childbirth that makes parents stronger than usual, everyday childless adults.
I do know that upon being named Godmother, I gathered myself up out of my sickbed, bathed my Godson, changed the bedding, called the exterminator, threw out everything in the pantry and washed the shelves with bleach once the rat was gone, took the eleven year old to baseball (and dozed in the car) and did what needed to be done.
So call me Godmother. I’ve seriously earned the title.
Rebecca Nelson Lubin is a Nanny and writer who resides in the San Francisco Bay Area. To see more of her Articles visit www.abandofwives.ning.com.
at 9:40 AM