JP and I went with a friend to see The Nanny Diaries on Friday night.

I don’t know if it was the beer (what? your theater doesn’t serve full meals or alcoholic beverages? You have my deepest sympathy.) or if it was just that a few of the scenes hit too close to home, but I spent more time choking back tears than laughter.

The hardest part of being a nanny is leaving behind a piece of your heart when you go. I’ve never been able to withhold my love, which I suppose, is part of what makes me a great nanny. But it also explains why the worst breakups I’ve ever had were with children, rather than lovers.

My first full-time, live-in position was for a workaholic single mother with three children under five. I worked around the clock, 24-hours a day, 7 days a week. I fed them, bathed them, clothed them, entertained them, taught them and cuddled them. When the babies cried in the night, I got up with them. When preschool teachers requested conferences, I attended them. When summer rolled around, I took them to the beach house and built sand castles with them. We often went weeks without seeing their mother and days without so much as speaking to her. I was 19.

The work agreement we had signed stated that I was to work no more than 50 hours a week, and when I had the audacity, after six months of indentured servitude, to insist that we follow the contract so that I could have a little time for my own pursuits, I was summarily fired. I was given 48 hours to remove my personal belongings and vacate their house and I was never allowed to see the children again.

Unlike the Hollywood version of this tale, there was no happy ending, wrapped up neatly with a little bow. I moved on and found new children to love, but a part of me will always grieve for the ones I left behind.

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