Finding Purpose as a Nanny

Discuss an experience that shaped your life.

As I watch the edges on the shiny four-by-six memories that I pinned to my wall warp and curl, I cannot help but feel my heart ache. I spent an entire school year and summer investing my time, energy, and love into my job as a nanny for six children, and now am faced with the challenge of redefining myself.

My first few weeks in a white Honda minivan were a big adjustment; I had to parallel park the van in front the kids’ schools and navigate along unfamiliar winding roads to bring Catherine to her horseback riding barn. I meticulously revisited fractions, spelling, and social studies with Jesse, who seemed to play every sport imaginable in addition to having hours of homework every night. Janie and Jake had soccer practices, Scott was working on his art portfolio and film class, and Chelsea had a sea of giggling girlfriends whose names, addresses, and faces I could not seem to get straight. I was not important to these kids; I was a stranger. Each evening, by the time I was finished working, I came home to my own family and ate dinner silently, out of words and energy.

However, I learned something every day—some small detail about what the doorbell sounded like, where the forks and knives were, and what time basketball...

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