When I was young, I often made escape plans. Plans of running away and being lost. I didn't do this alone; I had an equally adventurous friend who helped plan these elaborate schemes. We spent the late hours of our sleepovers preparing what we should pack, Polly pockets, our favorite bell bottom jeans, our fanciest dresses (of course) and maybe our matching flip-flops. We made maps to help us get to our destination, even though we didn't know where we were going. Coming up with scenarios of the people we would meet, the life we would live and how we would manage on our own. It was a mix of the secret garden and my fair lady. Wild adventures and glamorous affairs. It's funny how we didn't plan for shelter, food or even how we would get from place to place. I do know that we fully believed we would happen upon helpful fairies and boxcars fully furnished. Complete with beautiful clothes.
After all the meticulous (as meticulous as an eight-year-old can be) planning, map after map being drawn and packing our bags we decided it was time to put our plan into action. We got everything into the backyard and with our map in hand, off we went... We made it to the end of the yard and decided instead that perhaps we should head back inside and watch My Fair Lady again.
Needless to say, we never left. This memory keeps coming back to me lately, wondering why I ever thought the feeling of being lost was something that I wanted to feel. If you read my very first post, you know that at the beginning of the year I went through some job changes; I started working part-time as a nanny. For several years I have been dedicating most of my waking hours to children. I couldn’t imagine how these long hours between working would feel. Well now I know, and let me say it been the pits. It has been so hard, in ways that I never even considered. Let's start with I love my job, I look forward to every day and participating in those kids lives. But I didn't realize, how they were affecting my life.
This new adventure, of working less has threatened to break my spirit as of late. I find myself at the end of the day feeling listless, having no energy and low self-esteem. So what do you do when you feel listless? You add more activities to your schedule! So I have been working on the blog, hosting friends all of the time, helping Isaiah with special projects, volunteering at church, throwing myself into my new leadership role at church and really just anything to see if I can stop these bad feelings. Now the things I have listed are all things I love to do, but I still can't help but feel like I am not doing anything with my life. I have spent a lot of time praying about this, just asking God to make me feel "normal.". This past week, I tried to pinpoint why I am feeling this way and what changed. Obviously, the change was I am not spending as much time with children and it is having a more significant toll then I thought.
So why is spending less time with kids having this effect on me? Well for eight years I have spent most of my time with kids, something I have a great passion for doing. Anyone who has spent just a few minutes with children knows that it is busy, always changing and so rewarding! You can't feel listless; you have no chance to feel that way. Also if you have spent even seconds watching a child, you can see the beautiful energy they bring to this world! Their curious minds, unwavering devotion, and pure little hearts. Let's be real, the energy they bring to this world is unlike anything else. Now, this last part is something that has become real to me in a new way during this time. I mean I knew what I was bringing to the table. Beyond just caring for the children I want to make sure I am doing everything in my power to help them be filled with knowledge and wonder and confidence. But I may have missed how they were bringing the same thing to my life. Just doing life with these kiddos has given me a joy that I wish others could know. They have given me a purpose and they make me the proudest nanny in the world. They don't even have to do anything and I am proud. I am humbled that any moments I get to spend with them, we are both growing.
What have I learned from all this personal assessment? One huge thing is how thankful I am that so many fantastic families have let me be a part of their lives. Every child I have been able to spend time with has left an imprint on my heart. I am grateful for the memories. Genuinely, they have given me one of the greatest gifts.
But I do want to make sure I mention where I am in this emotional transition; I have no clue. Well, that's almost true. I think the first step to adjusting is finishing the projects I have going and then taking a break and figuring out what God is trying to teach me. Then, I think I need to decide how I want my days to look and realize that change is okay. Change can be good. Actually, it can be required. Let's just hope I can get there sooner rather than later.