To the parents who became my closest friends,
Val and Brian, you were only looking for a nanny when you hired me. I was an 18-year-old, fresh high school graduate, with a background in Children’s Ministry and love for kids. You took a chance on me. Val, you met me at Panera one night after I got off work. You bought me my dinner, you asked me questions, and you let me share my testimony, and life with you. You’ve always been so easy to talk to.
A week later, you invited me into your home. I pulled into your long driveway. It was December, it was cold, and I was concerned about how I would back out and down the hill without ruining your yard (I still find this challenging two years later.) Your bright blue door seemed to welcome me, and as I stepped inside your home for the first time, I felt safe. I took off my shoes, and within seconds I met Lucy Melissa. We bonded quickly. Then, you introduced me to your tiny babe, Leah Jay. She was so small. She slept in my arms, and rested against me for several hours that day.
I spent the day with your family. I worked hard to prove that I wanted to be a part of your life. Val, you made me feel like I was your best friend. You have this unique skill of making people feel loved and welcomed without even trying. Little did I know, you would actually become one of my best friends. One with whom I’d cry, and laugh with. Who understood me, and loved me even when I was messy. Who made me coffee, set out my favorite water cup, and bought all my favorite snacks just because you loved me. I needed a friend like you. You were a gift from the Lord, and I’m so incredibly blessed that He allowed us to meet.
Then, I met you, Brian. You came home that first night, exhausted from work, but incredibly hospitable to the stranger in your home. You immediately treated me like a little sister. You made me laugh, and teased me. Conversations lasting well past my “quitting time,” and I never regretted staying. You loved people. You cared deeply, and I appreciate your thoughtfulness and advice to this day.
You two hired me that night. And thus, began the beautiful two-year process of becoming a family with a “Sissa.” I will forever and ever be thankful and praise the Lord I was given this opportunity. You loved me as if I was your own sister, and I deeply treasure that relationship. Thank you for taking care of me, and cherishing me. For serving me.
I love you two.
To the two beautiful little girls who changed me in more ways than one,
I was with you for three days a week (or more), nine hours a day, for two years, and you taught me so much.
You taught me to be patient.
You taught me to look for the little bugs on the ground, and the birds in the sky (despite my fears) and rejoice.
You taught me to compromise.
You taught me to stand firm in my beliefs…especially, in regards to whether or not you needed another cookie.
You taught me to sing nursery rhymes…900 times a days.
You taught me how to change blow-out diapers in a zoo restroom.
But mostly, you helped teach me how to love deeply, and authentically.
Lucy Melissa, I pray you never lose your sense of logic and empathy. I loved arguing with you, and having deep conversations about the weather, how to bake, and why people feel things the way they do. I love that you love so fiercely, and love talking to people. You talk to anyone and everyone, about everything that’s on your mind. I love your authenticity, and honesty. You’re one of the smartest little ones I know. I often catch you staring off into space, and when I ask you what you’re thinking about, you have a big idea ready to explain to me. I truly believe you’re going to do big things one day. I pray you do them for Jesus. That you’d fall in love with Him and use that big, beautiful, smart brain to know Him even more. I can’t wait to see all that He has for you.
Leah Jay, my sassy queen. You are every bit as smart as your sister, and every bit as sassy as she is logical. When you were a baby I used to play Christian Hip-Hop, and it was the only thing that could calm you down. It’s still your favorite to dance to. You feel so deeply. You are the introvert. Many days you feel like my extra limb, because you’re always at my feet, or in my arms, or sitting on me. You are already nurturing. You change a baby doll’s diaper better than any child I’ve ever met, and you’re always trying to wipe your sister’s face. I pray that you would fall deeply in love with Jesus, and that He would show you how to use all of those big emotions to win people to Him, because He will, and He’s going to show you how to take care of people. Please let Him show you. Because if you do, it’s going to be grand.
Ladies, I’m going to miss our morning dance parties. I loved dancing with you two. I’m going to miss getting your “tiny snacks,” for you…even if you’d only eat half of it before you decided you needed another one. I’m going to miss the cuddling and watching Daniel Tiger. I’m going to miss you falling asleep in my arms, and watching the little smile you get when I kiss your cheeks. The squeezes around my neck, and the blanket nests. The summer days when popsicle juice ran down your chins and I was given sticky kisses. Explaining flower blooms, and cottonwood. Listening for the thunder, and watching the rain. I loved teaching you about Jesus. Truly, not much gave me greater joy than to sing, “For God so Loves the World…” and reading your Storybook Bible with you two. I hope you always love to pray and remember that Jesus loves you.
I’m going to miss the hard too. I’m going to miss sick days and having to bring a change of clothes every day because something will be spilled on me. I’m going to miss talking through tantrums, and working through big emotions. The messes. The screams. Kissing owies. Girls, please remember to use big-girl-words, and always take at least one no-thank-you-bite for Mama and Papa.
I hope you two know how much I loved you…love you. It breaks my heart that my role in your family has to change, but I’m so thankful that I’ll still get to see you, though far less than I once did. I want you to understand how much I adored you, how grateful I was for you, and while I may take care of other babies now, you two will always be the little girls who changed me. I’ll never stop praising God for that sweet life blessing.
I love you to the moon and back.