Mary Poppins is a superhero and other words worth knowing

I’ve grown to associate the summer with the superhero thanks to the plethora of movies featuring masks, spandex, and last-second rescues. But not all stories of the summer involve vats of radioactive goo or other experiments gone awry.

This story started out years ago – almost nine to be exact.

I’d been promoted shortly before learning I was also expecting. Not to worry – while the timing might have been less than ideal, it was all going to my master plan. I was going to have it all and there wasn’t anyone out there who could stop me. Whahahahahah.

It turns out I was wrong. There was a person who could stop me. That person was me.

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aka – What my youngest wants to be when he grows up. Image courtesy of http://www.flickr.com

Thanks to a series of regrettable mistakes, my eldest son was less than a year old when I found myself in desperate need of a dependable care provider for the third time.

I saw an ad online for a stay at home mom located near my home, and though I liked the idea of a public daycare with their known holidays, trained professionals, and proven curriculum, the lack of balance in my bank account and paid time off, made it all too clear we no longer had the luxury of being picky.

I noticed all her references were from out of state. Desperate times…, I thought as I nervously dialed, but every single one told me the same thing. If she has an opening, hire her. You won’t regret it. Yeah, we’ll see.

The day of our scheduled interview, I brought Kiddo along as if his newborn senses could somehow detect dangers, bad auras, or other half-truths. We started with the story about her most recent move from Maryland and why they, as Iraqi immigrants, had chosen to move further south. Kiddo cooed, rolled, or did something cute and our conversation turned to the matter at hand while she cuddled him and gave him a toy – exactly, how would she care for my son?

The short answer was – like one of her own.

However, in the years since that initial hire, the longer answer also proved to be – much better than how I might have cared for him alone. I’ve since come to suspect that she was less than forthcoming about how she’d come to my town during that initial interview, but then again, if you were interviewing Mary Poppins, would you really trust a person who claimed to have arrived by umbrella? Especially in today’s modern climate? Of course not.

She taught my children responsibility as well as courtesy. When her sister visited from overseas, she gave them the opportunity to experience cultural sensitivity too. Then when my youngest was slow to start walking, she attended his physical therapy sessions with me so that she could ensure his weekly challenges were part of their daily routine. They were lessons I might have taught, but I know myself to say it wouldn’t have been with the same degree of unquestionable patience.

So I will forgive her for the omission regarding her method of transportation. While she might not be a superhuman (unless you are like me, and consider the ability to care for five children under the age of six for eight to nine hours a day without going mad, a superpower) she is still a super human to me.

My youngest son, LT, graduates from her care this week, an event prompting this post. I am overjoyed at the idea I might actually find an extra dollar or two in my savings at the end of each month, relieved at the thought of an extra minute or two at the end of my daily commute and proud of how my son has grown under her loving care. However, I can’t help feeling I’m losing a bit of my support system and a piece of my family, which has added a sadness sprinkled with an ounce of terror too.

I thought – there has to be a word to describe what I am feeling, but maybe it simply hasn’t been translated into English yet. So I looked it up.

found words like:

Plutchik-wheel.svg

Emotion Wheel – courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

  • Hygge (Danish) – that trendy word for the feeling you get when you are cozy and sitting around a fire and everything is just the way it should be
  • Boketto (Japanese) – a word meaning that wistful feeling you get when you gaze out of a window and imagine the world on the other side and all its possibilities
  • Iktsuarpok (Inuit) – the anxious/panicked feeling when you are expecting visitors anytime and can’t stop thinking there is something else you need to do to get ready while checking to see if they’ve arrived every sixty seconds. (I know this feeling too well).

and some which made it into the English language, but are not as well known like:

  • Vellichor – that wistful, nostalgic feeling some of us book lovers get when we go to a used bookstore or old library and imagine the story behind how a book came to be on the shelf.
  • Occhiolism – the feeling that comes from the awareness that your perspective is limited.
  • Sonder – the realization that each person you meet (and even those you haven’t) has a story of their own and life just as full of uncertainty, experiences, and mixed emotions as yours.

This chapter in our lives may be ending, mine, LT’s, and hers, but I know it is also a beginning for us all too. As LT readies for kindergarten and my needs change from daycare to day camps, I know that there is probably another family out there in need of help, hoping for a last-second rescue.

And to that family – I know the woman floating in via umbrella looks highly suspicious. I do. But if you find she has an availability, hire her. You won’t regret it. Believe me. Superheroes are real. This I know.

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33 thoughts on “Mary Poppins is a superhero and other words worth knowing

  1. I’m glad you were able to find somebody to provide such warm, personalized care to your children! Daycare is definitely a tough thing to come to terms with when you’re a working parent and your children are so young, so finding a special person like that can definitely help ease your anxiety. This happened when my youngest daughter was in need of care, as well. Our Mary Poppins came to us through a index card tacked to a bulletin board in the supermarket, but was every bit the lifesaver.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Isn’t it funny how things works out – an index card that just happens to be in the right place at the right time, or in my case an ad that for whatever reasons popped out in a sea of other ads. These people really must have a call signal.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I couldn’t agree more! Your superhero well deserves her title and more! Anyone who has the opportunity to know her will be better for it. I feel lucky to be able to keep in touch with this honorary ‘member of the family.’

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    • I had no idea how difficult it was to find care that I a) could afford b) could trust and c) had an availability for a child who wasn’t quite an infant but wasn’t a toddler either. It’s one of those things that I wish I might have looked into before starting a family, but I guess you never know what you don’t know until you are faced with a situation like this one. You are very lucky to have your mom there. I have mine close by now, but she was still working then as well.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Good daycare is a tough thing to find – how lucky you are to have had someone so wonderful to care for your kids! End of an era, but the memories will remain 🙂

    And I love the word ‘sonder’…

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I enjoy reading blog posts about how things worked out for the best. It’s wonderful and providential that you found this woman. I can imagine that it’ll be bittersweet to say good-bye. Also I like the word “sonder” that I just learned here. It describes much of my life. People always have a story to tell me.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Oh good! I’m so glad she turned out to be so wonderful. I was worried how this post was going to go, though I shouldn’t have having read the title! Duh. I guess I thought you might pull a fast one and she wasn’t great after all. Anyhow, so grateful for the time you and your children had with her. Maybe you can have her over for dinner sometime. 🙂 Also, that Inuit one about people coming over is just too great! I love that there’s word for that.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Bittersweet post, Allie. 💕 You are lucky to have found someone like that. And, yes, I’m in agreement of the superhero status. I’d have gone mad. And she went to PT to incorporate that into her watching… That’s amazing.

    P.S. I love the words you found! Iktsuarpok, Vellichor, and Sonder, especially. Not sure I agree with that color wheel, though. Lots of negativity on there. Thought blues and greens were supposed to be calming… 🤔

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I’m so glad to read this! As a former daycare/nursery teacher (in Sweden they’re sort of combined), I get so frustrated when I read media stories about how ‘sad’ it is that mothers have to work and abandon their kids to daycare and poor wee kids in daycare – and in fact, most of them thrive in (high quality) daycare. That’s not to suggest that we’re better than parents in any way, it’s just different and complementary. So it’s lovely to read a positive daycare story – thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Ahh what a lovely post, I love it when you write these posts with all the meaning and mush. As you know, I more than sympathise with the loss of a loved childminder they really are family and it hurts when they go. But i also know were both thankful they were even a part of our lives for however fleeting that moment was

    Like

    • Aw shucks.

      I only cried maybe two – three times that day … before nine am.

      It is still hard to believe that time is done, but I am equally excited about the next stage and already have visits planned for the future.

      Like

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