I don’t have wings, nor do I have a wand BUT I do have a heart full of love and a head full of ideas.
When Vic and Nige, the couple that I spent a year nannying for, asked me to be Godmother to their newest baby, I was overwhelmed. Firstly, I couldn’t believe that they had asked me, because they spend most of the time laughing at the awful decisions that I make AND when in my care, their children mainly end up hurting themselves.Not badly. The first time that I ever went to look after them, Rosie flew off the trampoline and cut her lip open. Then another time we ended up in A&E because Ted fell off of a metal seesaw and the edge of the step went through his bottom lip. Hardly my fault because who the hell designs a children’s playground out of metal and sharp edges?! And also I think it’s because they’re having so much fun? They just fall over, ygm? But secondly, I was overwhelmed by the fact that I would (hopefully) have a profound impact on this little baby’s life.
Nannying taught me so much about what it would mean to be a Parent. I had no idea how much having children would change your life until I witnessed it everyday, and I got to go home to my quiet flat every night. The constant sacrifice of your time, ability to leave the house in five minutes and your food and drink because whatever you’re having, they want it to. Also did you ever realise that kids remember everything? I had to learn so quickly not to say something that I didn’t mean because it would come back to haunt me.
‘But Georgie said that chocolate is good for you’
Vic has an incredible ethos with her kids which I quickly got to grips with. Nothing really matters, if you hit your brother, draw on the walls or feed the dog your vegetables under the table, as long as you tell the truth and say sorry when you’re wrong. I love this, it opens up a dialogue and lets the kids know that they can say anything, there’s nothing to be ashamed of or worried about, because the only thing that’s worse than what you did, is to lie about it. Sometimes, after a long day when they were all tired and getting right on my tits, the last thing I would want to do is calmly explain why something was wrong but ‘thank you for telling me that you’ve done it.’ But it teaches them that they’re safe and that mistakes are okay as long as we learn from them.
I left to go to Uni before Minnie was born (because I’m sorry but 4?! How would I know where they all were at one time?!) so the impact that I have on her will be from afar and hopefully fuelled by the love that her older siblings have for me. But this little bundle of light means so much more to me than admiration. I feel an obligation to guide her in the things that I think I’m good at. Number one, top of my list is self-worth. However I can, I will make that little girl, the teenager, the young woman respect herself and know her worth. Of course she’ll go through heartbreak, she’ll pick a bad boy and somedays she’ll look in the mirror and she’ll hate what she sees. It’s on those days and in those times that I want her to hear my voice. To hear the words ‘hold your head high because you deserve the world.’ To know that her beauty comes from within, her treatment of others is what she is entitled to in return, and if anyone falls short of that, then she doesn’t need them.
I want her to ring me when she can’t figure something out, or feels like she’s made a mistake. To be honest I want to be another big sister to her. I want to give her my old clothes and buy her presents that she wished she had. I want to take her to galleries and theatres and watch when she sees something for the first time. I want to teach her how to make the perfect Espresso Martini. I want to show her the world and all of it’s beauties. I want her to know that sometimes strength can come from weakness, and mistakes are lessons in disguise.
My mum has a friend called Natalie, she’s younger than my Mum and she’s not my Godparent but when I was younger I adored her. She was successful and beautiful and spoke to me like I was a person with opinions not a child with peevish imagination. I’d like to be like Natalie, I’d like to make Minnie feel like she has a voice, and an opinion that is worth listening to.
Minnie might be the opposite to me, in hobbies, in nature, in lifestyle. But the fundamentals of a good, empowered person don’t really come from the things you do but from the things that you feel. I’m hoping that we will respect each other, love each other and have oodles of fun together.
I wrote her a poem as one of her Christening presents, and it went like this…
“Dearest darling Minnie Moo,
Here are the things that I wish for you…
For your dreams to come true when you wish on a star,
To know that you’re loved, wherever you are.
To sing, dance and laugh whenever you can,
To love yourself and be your own biggest fan.
Never give up when the world tells you no,
And remember you need rain to make a rainbow.
Have amazing adventures and muddy your clothes,
Making sure that your imagination grows.
Stand by values and have a strong mind,
But be sure that your actions are nothing but kind.
Most of all Min, I wish that you see,
How very much you mean to me.”
I feel so excited and privileged to be a part of her life. I also feel like I’m getting a little insight into what it must feel like to have your own baby. But rather than being predominantly responsible for their growth, I have a very little, very special responsibility.
I can’t promise to lead her in the light of God, but I can promise to lead her in the light of truth..
And Gin and Tonic.