My nanny had a cold this week, and she didn’t quite seem like herself. I saw her tired eyes and worried that she was uncomfortable or too depleted to deal with my kids. I would be the last to begrudge her needing some time away from them. I watched her and asked her what she needed; I offered her comfort or time off, because I want her to be happy.
Yesterday, she told me she and Sadie were late to cooking class because she left the address at home, but didn’t realize it until she was almost there. She had to backtrack a half mile to retrieve it, and Sadie reported that she ran (while pushing Sadie in the stroller) all the way back to the class.
She seems a little forgetful and a little out of sorts.
So, I am worrying about her. I always have, but now it’s different. I used to worry about her happiness and her personal life, even though it was none of my damn business. Our relationship is that odd blend of employer/employee plus that extra something that comes from a nanny-mom relationship. She works in my home; she’s seen me at my worst– she knows what these bangs look like when I first wake up. God bless her, no wonder she feels sick.
But it’s different now because I know that awful story about the tragedy in New York. As soon as someone mentioned it to me, I should have begged them to shut up. I didn’t want details, but they slithered in. And I sure can’t blame anyone else for the People article I read “just because” someone left it on “my” treadmill at the gym. No one told me to flip through the article while my peppy work-out music piped through my ears. I did that. I wanted to see the nanny’s eyes– the nanny who could do that awful thing.
I was looking so I would know if I ever saw that in my nanny’s eyes.
It’s sick. I know it’s sick. I am not the kind of person who can healthily digest tragedy and put it in any kind perspective. I am too fear-based, to vulnerable, and my imagination is too wild.
But every time I come in through the garage holding one of the children, I have a split moment where I worry about the one I left with her. Horrible visions come unbidden in my brain and they torture me swiftly and thoroughly.
Clearly, I need to be more careful about exposing myself to the details about tragedies and violence. I already know we live in a chaotic world where awful things come to pass. But, it’s my responsibility to keep the valve shut on the extras– the superfluous lurid details from stories that already broke my heart and stirred my deepest and most primal fears.
Because I have to be able to trust. There’s no way to get through a day without trusting Sadie’s teachers, other drivers, my husband, my friends, the childcare workers at the health club, and myself.
Yes, I still have to trust, even though it’s harder than ever. I am contemplating having a conversation with my nanny about my fears, and how it’s not about her, but all about me and current events. Maybe telling her would be helpful, or at least it might explain why I hover over her asking her over and over how’s she’s feeling and whether she wants to leave early or take a break. She’s probably just as scared of me as I am of her.