This past summer on an ordinary Wednesday my husband declared that that, “Tomorrow will be Lolo Day.” Lolo is our son’s nickname for his much-loved nanny, Myrtle, a woman certainly deserving of a holiday. My heart melted as my husband took it upon himself to make a card of appreciation, pick up a gift certificate to one of her favorite restaurants and create a sign to hang in the window for the entire day, Lolo Day.
Entrusting your child to another person is one of the many lessons of letting go, a reoccurring theme in the story of parenthood. And there we were, over two years ago now, with a three-month-old for whom we barely had the operating instructions figured out, interviewing women–many mothers themselves–about caring for a child. What the heck did we know? We went with Myrtle, a mother of two girls, who had worked for years in the neighborhood and knew her way around every sing-a-long and story time within a mile of the house.
I was so anxious and full of questions that first day returning to work: how exactly to wedge in two morning feedings before leaving the house; what pumping-friendly outfits could I assemble (or even fit into); where would I pump; was my sleep-shot brain really up to this? Not to mention the fact that I was just walking away from a baby and a house that we were turning over to someone we’d only just met, even if she did come highly recommended. So when I raced home that night to a sleeping baby, an immaculate house and dinner waiting for us. I wept with relief. I’ve felt relieved ever since.
And grateful. We were incredibly fortunate to connect with Myrtle and her family. In our time together we have slowly learned what she and her husband sacrificed – including leaving their older daughter behind in their home country for a few years – while they established a more promising life for their family in New York. Myrtle arrived here and cared for other people’s children while she was separated from her own daughter. And I was worried in those early weeks about leaving my son for eight hours a day. I can’t even imagine.
Myrtle was so surprised and touched by Lolo Day that it was fun for all of us. There are those people so integral to our lives, and in particular our children’s lives, that we can never do enough to say thank you. Teachers, nurses, doctors, any number of caregiver and instructors are among those without the commercialized holiday parents or grandparents. So appropriate your own holiday in honor of someone important and influential in your life. It’s easy – a homemade sign, a plate of cookies, or a special lunch out is all it takes – but the impression is lasting.
Laura House is the author of the blog Good House Guest.