One of the characteristics that I’m most consistently drawn to in others is a positive, upbeat attitude. I love surrounding myself with others who make the choice to focus on the good in this world and who choose to be happy.
If you were to ask me to describe my friend Abigail in one word, that word would be optimistic.
Sweet Caroline — by Abigail
When I was 18 my need for adventure (and to get the heck out of Indiana) led me to taking a job as an au pair in The Netherlands. The job combined my love of kids with my need for travel, it was the perfect adventure for me as a just graduated from high school “adult.”
The family I chose had three small children, two boys and a girl. The boys were old enough to be in school full time but Caroline only turned 2 not long after I arrived. This meant from around 7:30 in the morning until 3:00 in the afternoon it was just Caroline and me.
Since it was just the two of us for most of the day, our bond quickly became very strong. She was my little girl. I dressed her in adorable outfits and played with her hair. We also often went on little outings around the city.
One of our favorite things was taking the train to go on play dates. “Do you want to go on the train?” was always met with excited squeals and an enthusiastic yes. We’d drop the boys off at school around 8 and then we’d hop on a train. Usually we’d play for a couple of hours, eat lunch and then head back so we would be back in plenty of time to pick up the boys.
This meant that we generally ran over her nap time. She was a very easy going toddler so occasionally skipping a nap wasn’t a huge deal. I don’t ever remember having any melt downs. In fact, when we took the train I rather liked going over her nap.
She always wanted to sit on my lap so she could see out the window. As we’d watch the Dutch countryside wiz by, her eyes would get heavy and she would eventually doze off peacefully. Her little head fit perfectly under my chin and I’d sit there holding her chubby little toddler self for the 20 minutes or so that was left of the ride. Cuddles from her were my favorite part of that job. It was blissful.
Leaving her was one of the hardest things I ever had to do. We were connected in a stronger way than I’d ever been to anyone up to that point. I knew from the beginning that my time there was only temporary but leaving ripped my heart to shreds.
I’d gone on trips away from the family before but she didn’t really understand that this time I wouldn’t be coming back. Flying to Europe isn’t something that non rich people can do often. As far as I knew I might never see her again.
Not only that but I knew she was going to get another au pair. One that would hopefully be incredibly good to her. One that she would hopefully love.
But what if she loved her more than me?
Would she forget about me completely?
Thankfully, my job as a flight attendant allows me to visit from time to time. She hasn’t forgotten about me.
But she’s so grown up now. She has crushes and “boyfriends” and worries about what’s popular and what’s in style. She’s so different from the baby I used to play Dora Candyland with.
This past visit, I was noticing how different she was. It made me sad that she wasn’t my baby girl anymore. As fun as it was to have real conversations with her, I missed that clumsy, snugly little toddler.
Then, one evening we were riding home in the car. She sat next to me and chatted my ear off. The ride was more than a few minutes and it was late. Slowly she got quiet, and then, unexpectedly she put her head on my shoulder.
In that same spot her little baby head used to lay on the train.
I felt a warm rush to my heart with the realization that our bond was still strong. I put my arm around her while she dozed and soaked up every little minute of the cuddle.
She may not fit easily on my lap anymore. She may have other au pairs that are fantastic and she loves.
But she’ll always be my little girl.
My sweet Caroline.
Okay, so now, hop on over to visit Abigail at SkyWaitress.com
She offers up simplicity and honesty her writing, especially in Pressure.
She has a shirt that I’d kill for. (Seriously, Abigail, you just need to send that shirt to me.)
One of her posts still haunts me.
She can make just about anything look like a ridiculous amount of fun.
Thanks for coming by and sharing your small moment, Abigail! You have absolutely no idea just how often you brighten my day.