Saturday, July 19, 2008

My Mom ~ The Original Supernanny..

(Okay, that's a bit of a stretch but I thought it was a cute title)

As I previously wrote, the year after Mama passed away I found out I was adopted by a random comment written in a note from a family friend. Since then, all kinds of stories have surfaced as family and friends have been eager to fill me in on the things that went on back in the day. The flood gates were finally opened.

One story I love in particular is her going to work as a nanny for a family that lived in our town. By trade she was secretary but took time off to learn the ins and outs of working with children and raising a family. We came from a fairly affluent community and some people thought it was extreme (and maybe even a bit demeaning) to be a "household servant" but she didn't care. She was in it for the experience and always said that you can't learn everything from books.. you have to jump in and do it. She met the family through church and they would forge a friendship that would last a lifetime.

The funny part is, I grew up knowing the family she worked for and was obviously clueless to the fact she was their employee. I was under the impression they were family friends (and by all accounts they were--they adored Mama and she them). She "babysat" for them on and off throughout the years and sometimes I would get to join her. I loved when I got to tag along and had a ball with the kids.

My memories of "Mrs. T" are that she was physically stunning, gracious and very kind. They lived in a monstrous home that I actually got lost inside when I went on a solo walk-about and quickly learned to stick close to Mama and the kids. It sat high on a hillside facing east over Los Angeles. We lived on the side of the peninsula that looked out over the ocean and it was always a treat for me to get to see the mass of twinkling city lights after dark. It was a view I wasn't accustomed to and I soaked it up like a sponge - completely mesmerized. Come dusk it was a little ritual to wrap myself in a blanket, sit on the chaise lounge by the pool and watch as LA's night came to life. I remember telling dad it was bigger and better than the Main Street Electrical Parade at Disneyland (and boy howdy, that says a lot coming from a 6 year old).

She was a singer and her husband had a recording studio built in their home. She knew how much I loved to go in there and look around and she always made sure to take me through. It had the biggest, shiniest black piano I have ever seen and sometimes she would tickle the ivories for me. Her album covers adorned the walls in frames and I would have to stop and look at each one (much like a grown up would admire art at a museum). Okay, I was a kooky kid..

I'm so grateful they treated Mama with respect rather than a mere servant. I know in my heart she would have continued to work for them even if they had looked down their noses at her and would have done so with a smile. I'm told she considered it an opportunity of a lifetime to have hands on experience and enjoyed every minute of it.

On top of all the training she was required to take for her certification, she took on this job because she wanted to be the very best Mommy she could be. She always went above and beyond. Not only was my Mom a great teacher but also a willing student. That's an attribute I'm still working on.



Ms.Christy said...

Nice story Melissa! My mom cleaned houses when I was a kid and it was very interesting to me!

Stella said...

That's a great story. What an experience and role model to have!!

If you're looking to get some experience, I have two kids that you can FEEL FREE to look after ANYTIME!


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