Friday, April 8, 2011
Winds of Change
It's an audacious understatement to say that I don't like change. I hate change. All change: big, small, life-altering. Hate it. Someone as adverse to change as I am is in for some real pain when she decides to have children. Having children is all about change and, of course, each change (in schedule, in habit, in appearance or size or skill level) brings something new and usually wonderful. However, it's a charming part of my personality that I am generally more focused on what I am losing when a change comes. Today, the seeds of a huge change were planted for my family. Our first long-term nanny, Zenia, has decided to seek other employment. Zenia has been the first adult that I have watched Sadie bond with. In fact, whenever Sadie says Zenia's name, Sadie does this motion with her hand: she bends her elbow and raises her wrist to her chin and says, in Sadie-speak, "Zenia." Always with a smile. When we walk downstairs in the morning, Sadie always asks for Zenia. It's tough on Saturdays because I have to tell Sadie that Zenia isn't coming for two more days. Watching Zenia find another family and our own search for our next caregiver will bring up some grief, if today is any indication. Jeff and Zenia had a heart-t0-heart about her goals and our goals and some changed circumstances, and it became clear that it's time for us all to move on. During that conversation, Jeff and Zenia cried. When I got home and went upstairs to see Sadie and Zenia, I cried along with Zenia. It's like a break up. The kind of tender, open-hearted break up you have when you really love the guy and think he would be great in so many ways, but deep down, you know you have gone as far with him as you can go. You are sad; he's sad. It's gut wrenching and it's the right thing. Welcome to my Friday afternoon. Actually, I was at a doctor's appointment and Jeff sent me a text. I called him back from Nordstrom's Rack (Hey, it was raining and I needed some shower gel). I was standing next to the Hobo purse rack when he told me about the conversation. So, yes, I was the woman crying in the purse aisle this afternoon trying to act like it's normal to break into tears with all those discounted Le Sport Sac's adorning the walls of the store. I sort of want to say that I feel sad for Sadie, but the truth is, that I feel sad for me. And, not just because I hate change. But this relationship that I have with Zenia has been a very important, if unexplored attachment. This is the woman who I left Sadie with so I could leave the house for work. I trust her. I remember the first time Sadie went to Zenia's arms as I was leaving for work without ever looking back at me. That morning there were no tears for mama as she was leaving; Sadie was thrilled to see Zenia and I was the proverbial chopped liver. I cried and cried that day on the way to work. I called friends to say that I was going to put Sadie in daycare because, honestly, I felt threatened that Sadie would have an intense bond with another woman. My impeccable logic was that if I put Sadie in daycare, then she would have to spread her attachment among all the other kids and several "teachers." I was scared to let my baby girl love someone else, another caregiver. And, I was scared that Zenia would be better at giving care than I was. After all, she had two daughters and was warm and loving and almost always in a good mood. She has a great laugh that I thought would delight Sadie throughout their time together. I was terrified that Sadie would like her better than me. I did not put Sadie in day care because of my own insecurities and fears. I let go and let Sadie fall in love with Zenia and, while I still sometimes feel jealous, I am also proud of Sadie for being able to attach to loving people who are part of her life. Zenia is the only person other than Jeff who I would allow to drive Sadie anywhere. The first time we let Zenia drive Sadie to Gymboree class I was a nervous, neurotic mess. I asked her to text me when the left the house, when they got to the class, when they were leaving the class andn when they got home. She sent me the texts and kept Sadie safe and enriched during those Gymboree dates. I am already planning the meltdown for Zenia's last day, whenever that is. I don't know how this will play out, but I will be blubbering like a baby. I am so grateful to her for being my first and Sadie's first. I have not given her much chance with Simon yet, so I am not sure she's his first, but she has been gentle and loving with him, and he smiles at her like no one else. I can see I will have to go down the same road with Simon I did with Sadie: feeling afraid to let him love anyone else besides me (and Jeff) and walking through my own feelings of insecurity and sadness that I am not his one-and-only, because (a) that's not healthy for him or me and (b) that's just not how it works. Of course, I feel the same impulses with Simon: I want to the only woman in his life, which will not complicate his dating life in the slightest when the time comes. All this letting go. All this love. It brings so much pain. Honestly, I feel pain about the loss of Zenia, even though it's right for all of us. I feel pain because I love her and she's loved me and my family and my daughter loves her fiercely. Damn, it seems like love shouldn't bring such pain in its trail. I thought my break-up days were over once that tall glass of water Jeff Ellis swooped in with his key club smile and cooking skills. So, as this chapter ends another one will begin and the search for the modern day Mary Poppins will commence shortly. I can only imagine the blog posts that the upcoming nanny search will produce. Should generate some good material.