Not long ago, I, like many other families, received a notice about Au Pair Care’s Ultimate Au Pair Contest.
I knew immediately that our au pair, Paola was THE ultimate au pair and deserved to win this contest. But then, I faced the daunting task of having to write an essay explaining WHY.
I thought of all of the things Paola does for us, that makes us work better as a family. How she is always ready for work with a smile on her face. How she jumped into our single parent household without a second thought and rolls with the punches – like jumping in to hurricane preparations, loading sandbags and finding open gas stations without a second thought. How she helps smooth over the rough edges of difficult days – making left-overs into great meals on the fly, finding silly you tube videos to cheer us up or just making a nice cup of tea. How she holds firm with house rules even when the children try hard to test boundaries as all children do. How she manages to get protein into my fussy eater for breakfast with shakes and exotic “Spanish” treats. How she helps get my middle schooler past his anxiety so he can do his homework. How she helps my high schooler navigate her many after school activities and new friendships. How she helps my son with his daily medical routine for a chronic disease. How I can give her almost any instruction and she will execute it without fail. How she can take feedback willingly and give it as well, in a way you feel cared for, not criticized.
But I knew these were all part of her job and just “things” she did. How did this amount to being the ULTIMATE au pair – a very lofty title indeed!
Then she handed it to me this morning. I received an email from her entitled “Happy.” I often get emails from Paola throughout the day, letting me know what is happening at home, how the kids are doing and what is needed at home, but this one really made me understand exactly why I feel that Paola is the ultimate au pair and has in such a short time become a truly valued member of our family.
Her email told me this:
Just want to make you as happy as I am letting you know that the boys are making me SO HAPPY today!
They are doing what I ask them to do without complaining!!! And I let them know how happy I am and N. said to G.: Did u realize how easy is to make Paola happy? :D:D
What I realized from this email, is that it is Paola who is making our family happy. Under her care, my children are growing, stretching, learning, developing. They are growing in their ability to handle responsibilities and relationships. They are stretching beyond their comfort zones and finding self reliance. They are learning respect for others and themselves. They are developing teamwork skills. They are becoming more and more the wonderful young adults they are meant to be. They are finding happiness.
So, I realized, it is not in Paola’s performance of her assigned job duties that make her the ultimate au pair. It is in the little things she does. She connects with the children. She engages with our family. She blends guidance, discipline, love and humor to help the children grow and develop. She makes jokes and brings us smiles every day. She sees the positive, not the negative and always brings us her best. She is integral to the happiness of our home, and we are so blessed to have her.
There is no doubt in my mind that Paola is the ultimate au pair. She is our ultimate au pair.