Sweet Caroline

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.

Abigail, from SkyWaitress.com, is here today to share one of her stories for Small Moments Mondays.  I know that you’ll love her –she’s quirky, spunky, happy, honest, and real.

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?

Heartbreaking.

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

Here are some things about Abigail that you need to know

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.

20 comments

  1. MamaOnDaGo mamaondago.blogspot.com/

    Regardless of how old kids get, they still somehow fit perfectly in our arms.

  2. Oh so lovely…

    I was a nanny to a little boy. But I seldom got to visit, and he only barely remembers me now.

    I'm glad she still remembers you.

  3. TamingInsanity

    I still miss some of the kids I taught swim lessons to…which always made me glad that I didn't nanny. I don't know if I could have handled it.

  4. I think it is amazing that you still have a friendship with her and with her family.

  5. Oh gosh I know! I feel that way about a little girl I watched when I was about 18. She's driving now. How sick is that? Who let that happen?

  6. Okay, heart strings have been sufficiently pulled. So beautiful.

  7. ksluiter

    Love this post! everything about it! It sounds like a novel I would love to read! The au pair and the little Caroline and the separation and the bond. sigh…love it.

  8. kris prettyalltrue.com

    Awwwwww . . . this is such a sweet post.

    My girls don't snuggle as much as they used to, but there are moments when their bodies are pressed and relaxed into mine? When I remember the softer chubby flesh of their toddler selves.

    And I wonder . . . when did this happen?

    And I feel so grateful to have been there for that. And to be here for this.

    Thank you!

  9. Peggy Sheehan

    This post brought tears to my eyes. I had a licenced home daycare for 9 years, and now I'm seeing my little daycare kids graduate from high school and go off to college. In Oct. I will be attending one's wedding. I still have dreams of my daycare kids. They are always 3 -5 yrs olds. To me, they will be forever young.

  10. ahhh. I am the mother of the Caroline that Abigail is talking about and *cross my heart* we were talking about her braiding Carolines hair this very morning! It's true we have been blessed with almost all our au pairs ;) but Abigail has a soft spot not only in Carolines but also our hearts. I think one (or maybe even THE) best day in Caroline's life was being Abigails flower girl and ALL the attention she got. Haha, if you'd ask her, she'd be on your lap in no time.

  11. SkyWaitress skywaitress.com

    It was really hard to leave. Kids have a way of burrowing into your heart. Love it.

  12. SkyWaitress skywaitress.com

    It's just so crazy how fast they grow up.

    And saying that I now feel like I'm 80.

    But seriously, who gave them permission? ha

  13. SkyWaitress skywaitress.com

    Thank you.

  14. SkyWaitress skywaitress.com

    Oh thank you. Some au pair friends and I have talked about writing a book about our experiences. Just a dream right now but your comment makes me want to think about it more.

  15. SkyWaitress skywaitress.com

    Yes, in my head all my kids are still so little. Then I see them and it hits me how fast they've grown up.

    Caroline was the flower girl in my wedding. When she graduates from school and eventually gets married someday I hope to be able to attend.

    I will definitely cry like a baby though. ::sigh::

  16. SkyWaitress skywaitress.com

    I love every cuddle I get from that little girl. I got plenty of cuddles this last time I was out there. Just that moment reminded me of riding on the train and it was so sweet and a little sad because she's so grown up now.

    Thank you for your kind words, I love you guys and am so glad I'm still a part of your lives.

  17. SkyWaitress skywaitress.com

    It's so great to see them grow up and learn and become "real" humans. It's a little sad still though because it feels like just a minute ago they were just chubby little toddler people.

    I can't even imagine what it will be like when it's my own child.

    Just can't imagine.

  18. Nichole inthesesmallmoments.com

    Thank you for coming by and guest posting on Small Moments Monday, Abigail.
    Your story was just beautiful.

    I worked as a nanny off and on (more on) for fifteen years. I loved all of the children I cared for and was always heartbroken to have to say my goodbyes.

    As funny as this sounds, Facebook has actually been an amazing place to reconnect with so many of them.

    One of the first children I cared for is doing his residency now. Talk about feeling old.

    Another child I cared for has travelled more than I probably ever will and has turned into a lovely, dynamic young woman.

    Being a nanny was one of the most rewarding things that I've ever done. It brought me tremendous joy.

    If you ever write that book, I'm in! :)

    Thank you, Abigail.

  19. Nichole inthesesmallmoments.com

    One of my recent favorite posts that you've written is "Melting."
    When you wrote, "We laid together, listening and melting," I felt my heart turn to mush.
    If anyone wants to see that post, you can find it here: http://www.prettyalltrue.com/2010/07/melting/

  20. Alli_n_Son

    Oh, your post made me so thankful for my son's cuddles. He's too. In fact, I'm tempted to go wake him up just for one more hug.

Add a comment

(required)
(required, won’t be displayed)
(optional)

About this post