An Ode To Rachel

Author: Charlotte O'Shea

Rachel was Iris’s nanny from June until December last year.

Iris was born in March 2018, I was determined to have at least 3 months full maternity leave, and my “return” to work was on a part time basis for 6 months which would bring me to the end of 2018. I figured at this point I could reassess our family vs work life and what my husband James and I ultimately wanted for our future. I like to have a plan.

Employing a nanny meant that I could work from home with on site childcare until I was ready for Iris to start nursery in January of this year. Essentially this meant I could see Iris whenever I wanted whilst being able to be involved in Rock My and attend meetings when required.

We assumed finding a nanny whom we felt comfortable sharing our home and lives with, on a part-time short-term contract basis, would be nigh on impossible. And then Rachel happened. All flame red air, positivity and calm. We liked her immediately. She was looking for a 2/3 day a week role until the end of the year as she was hoping to eventually move back to her home town and return to teaching.

Rachel came with a wealth of experience and references, which when you are trusting someone with the welfare of your very new baby, is a requisite. Iris adored her. She adored Iris. And she did so much more than look after my youngest daughter. Rachel did all the small things that make a big difference when I was going though a challenging time post baby – Crippling PND (which I had a difficult time admitting to myself, never mind anyone else) Iris’s diagnosis last September and my Nan passing away in the November.

She cooked dinner. She ironed James’s shirts. She put a wash on when the laundry pile overflowed. She baked cakes. She read with Mabel after school. She went to the supermarket whenever we ran out of anything and everything.

She listened when I was exhausted and confused and really not feeling like myself at all.

Mabel called her Mary Poppins. Iris’s face lit up every time she walked into the room.

Rachel was part of our world for such a short period of time in the grand scheme of things, but I will never forget her or her unyielding generosity.

This post isn’t so much about hiring a nanny (although please feel free to ask me any questions in the comments section) but about the people that have had a significant impact on our lives. When Iris’s diagnosis meant multiple appointments with consultants and an impending operation, so many of the Mums from Mabel’s school whom I had only known a few months, offered to help with the logistical juggle. My friends Lisa J, Anna, Perfect Kelly, Lisa S, Victoria….the list goes on, all checked in to see how I was. Offered to look after Mabel so we could focus on Iris and have some much needed rest and a glass of wine. I was often overwhelmed with the kindness of both loved ones and (almost) strangers.

Christmas is a joyous time for most but it can be a testing and lonely time for many. Giving gifts can be thoughtful, but also costly. Stuff is just stuff. Being kind is free.

Here’s to the Rachels. Here’s to the folks that go high when others go low.

Here’s to you and those we will remember.

Here’s to a brand new year, let’s go higher.

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Purveyor of short shorts. Make-up junkie. Hopes to grow old disgracefully.
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21 thoughts on “An Ode To Rachel

  1. What an incredibly uplifting read.

    I’m sure I won’t be the only person who takes a moment to reflect on all of the wonderful people I’m lucky enough to know and love.

    xx

    1. Thanks so much Charlie, I’m glad it had the desired effect! I have made so many plans to see/spend time with so many wonderful friends and family this festive period – here’s to the best Christmas yet x

  2. Last week I got to spend the evening with a group of ladies who took me under their wing three years ago when I moved to a new city. They didn’t know me from Adam. My neighbour clocked me one day and asked me if I was ok; new city, brand new baby, barnet all disheveled perfectly representing my life. She talked to me about schools as I was needing to make decisions on where to send Leo and obviously had no idea about any of it. She told me she would add me to a whatsapp group with some of her mom friends and I am forever grateful that they welcomed me with open arms and that I get to spend quality time with them knowing I can call on them at any time and hopefully they know they can do the same with me.

    I have been blown away by the kindness of strangers over the last three years and when you open up and let those strangers in they can become best friends. I count myself extremely lucky and will be forever grateful for the new, and old friendships I have forged over the course of my adult life. Gratitude is everything and I try my best to make sure they all know how thankful I am for them.

    This weekend I get to see my ‘old’ friends. They might live hundreds of miles away but are always on the end of a phone and quick to hop in their cars when I need them most. They are my comfort zone and I can’t wait to smush each one of their faces and dance the night away.

    As you say, those small things mean the most. Someone who can read you and know that you might need a cup of tea, someone who can see you’re becoming snowed under so they bring you soup (honestly – told you how lucky I am), sometimes they bring you concealer because… eye bags 😉 or they might entertain your little one so you can temporarily stop losing your shit for an hour and get yourself together.

    You have dealt with a lot this year and although it’s been difficult you have done it. You’ve made it through with your head held high. You should be proud of yourself and for the kindness you show to others too. I’m sure Rachel feels the same way about you.

    Here’s to 2020, highest of the high x

    1. Friendships develop from all sorts of circumstances don’t they? and as much as I’m a realist, and appreciate we all go through times when the behaviour of some folks is disappointing, the kindness of others more than makes up for it.

      Here’s to 2020! Now then, let’s design some hotels….😉😂 xx

  3. Oh Charlotte, this made me well up a bit! I think my own mum would be able to write a very similar ode to the nanny she hired when I was just under a year old. Julie’s impact on our lives was long-lasting – her own son is like a baby brother to me and she was one of the first people I told when I fell pregnant with my own child. I also wouldn’t have met my best friend, Rachael, if it hadn’t been for Julie – her sister was also a nanny and looked after Rachael from a similar age. Julie’s mum calls us both her adopted grand-kids! All of us meet up regularly and it’s amazing to think none of this would have happened if my mum hadn’t placed that ad in the local paper. I don’t have a big immediate family (I’m an only child) but I am forever grateful for my fantastic extended/’adopted’ family whose support is unrelenting and who will continue to be a big part of my own daughter’s life as well.

    Here’s to all the friends and families, in whatever form they come!

    1. Oh Jo! This is the loveliest thing I have read in ages!!! sat here with a coffee and happy tears. May you have the best 2020, extended “adopted” family and all. x

  4. Well Charlotte… That was a bloody post. Simple and massively impactful. I’m sitting here reflecting on my own Rachels. Of which I am lucky to say there are many. And you’ve inspired me to write them each a little letter this Christmas to tuck in along with their gifts. It’s not often we take time to express gratitude on paper, so thank you for the inspiration.

    Also, you. This last year has been a rocky road, but you navigated it with absolute grace. It’s been incredible to watch. I have every faith that 2020 is going to be glorious. xo

    1. I love the idea of a letter! I was rummaging in the back of my wardrobe at the weekend and came across a whole bunch of letters my friend Maria wrote to me when she was living in Barcelona. There really is nothing like it – I am going to make time to do the same. Here’s to 2020, and RMW 2.0! x

  5. Aww Charlotte, what a lovely post. I bet you’ll remember her for the rest of your life, she sounds like such a wonderful person and exactly what you needed at that time. I have a few people like this. My own parents and sister are amazing and I suppose I take them for granted a little bit because they are family.

    The midwife who came over after I had my second child was amazing. I remember her talking about being divorced and going on a few dates and wondering how on earth such an angel didn’t have men queueing up to marry her 😀 She instantly realised that I wasn’t coping and agreed that my baby wasn’t feeding properly. Everybody else had ignored me. She arranged for somebody else to take over the rest of her patients, drove us to the doctors to get medication, arranged for a woman to meet her with a pump in the doctors car park and got a breast feeding helper to come over the same day… she even booked me into a fancy room at her hospital and arranged a meeting with their in house breast feeding expert, completely rearranging her day to sit with me because she was actually a manager and only filling in for somebody that day she came to my house. She texted or called me every morning to see how I was getting on and would drive to my house after work as I didn’t really have any medical need for daily visits during work hours anymore. I’ve never known anybody go so above and beyond before and it made a huge difference. She made me feel like I could cope because she was looking after me.

    I’ve experienced lots of smaller acts of kindness where people stepped in to help when I really needed it. I imagine they don’t know what a difference it made. I was inundated with offers of help from neighbours and local people during my last pregnancy, even people I only knew by sight. I didn’t have to do the school run at all because neighbours would knock every morning and sort it for me. A nan at soft play once befriended me after noticing that I’d lost lots of weight within a week or two and asking whether I was ok – we’d never spoken before but she had seen me around. She told me to sit with her and bought me a nice hot drink and gave me some great advice. I met up with her every week after that. The area in which I live has a bit of a bad reputation but I’ve never known such kind and genuine people.

    Another couple who have stayed with me were an elderly couple my mom used to clean for when I was a child. Our family didn’t have much money and they doted on me and my sister. Mom would have to take us along during school holidays and I think it was the highlight of their week. They would buy in special treats for us and the man would drive us out into town to pick his wife up from her regular hair appointment and take us for doughnuts. They would sit and play board games with us for hours, give us rides on their stair lift and the man had a little organ he used to play to us. He taught me a little and it sparked something in me – I’m now an accomplished pianist. They all sound like such little things but they made everything seem exciting and special. They liked to stroke our hair and tell us they’d always wanted granddaughters, which sounds so creepy now I’ve written it down 😀 but was adorable. I didn’t think too much of it as a child but I now see how unusual it is for them to have treated their cleaner’s children like members of their own family and how important they made us feel.

    1. Jade this is magical! What lovely LOVELY people. Your midwife sounds like a bloody hero. Very jealous of your piano accomplishments! I never continued with my lessons and I have always regretted it.

      With all the heightened consumerism and constant reminders that apparently we need ALL THE THINGS across media platforms, its so good to hear about every day folk doing amazing things. It’s about the way people make you feel, not what they/you have and all that.

      Here’s to 2020! I hope you will be playing Christmas tunes on the piano on the 25th xx

      1. Yes, I will! Though I’m afraid it won’t be as lovely as it sounds because my four year old has decided he no longer likes it so either bashes the rest of the keys to drown me out or puts his hands over my mouth so I can’t sing.

        I sometimes worry that other people might think I’m odd for offering help to strangers or asking whether they are ok, which can put me off doing it, but then I remember how I felt about all of the lovely people who have helped me over the years and it spurs me on.

    2. Jade we don’t live in a very fancy area either, but the kindness and the community I have witnessed here have been out of this world. All your stories have really warmed my heart this morning. Thanks so much for sharing them. People are awesome. xo

  6. Sounds like Rachel came into your life exactly when you need her Charlotte and is a wonderful woman. Good people attract other good people so I always think the amazing things people do for someone is a reflection of that person – these friends, employees, colleagues, family members know that if the shoe was on the other foot you would be offering the same help and the same support. I think it is really important to remind ourselves of that because sometimes even when deep down you know you need the help/support it can be difficult to accept it. I hope that makes sense. Here’s to a very happy and healthy Christmas and 2020 for your family xx

    1. That’s such a lovely way to look at it Sophie – and yes absolutely, I’m more conscious than ever that I need to make the most effort I can with the people who have done so much for me and my family. Lots of gin evenings on the cards! Here’s to you and yours x

  7. Coming to this late (as ever!!!!) but this is just the most heart warming read. Charlotte I’m so glad you had a Rachel in your life, even for a short period, their impact is so long lasting and really does help you deal with all the other delights going on (and it sounds like you have had more than your fair share to deal with). In a far more minor way, one of my best friends was a life saver last week, she became my emergency nanny for a day when my nanny had to deal with her own childcare issues, I am honestly so indebted to her and grateful for people like that in my life. There are so many wonderful people out there, it is lovely to give them a “shout out” and acknowledge their amazingness! Hope everyone has a wonderful 2020!!

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