It was October 2014...
I had reached my breaking point. The writing and entrepreneur life had taken its toll on me, and my pillow and tears had formed a budding relationship. After confessing to myself earlier in the spring that I needed something flexible, but stable, to support my writing dreams, I had started looking at my options. Tracy, a mutual friend, introduced us later that summer. You and I had talked about me watching R, your almost two-year-old daughter, for a few days a week, but I didn’t want to nanny. Hence when you made a different choice, I had shrugged my shoulders and kept it moving.
Then that October, I got an email from you asking if I could watch R for a few hours.
It was October 2014…
I watched her for the first time, and she was a delight. What started as occasional help grew into more hours and days with each passing season. It was exactly what I needed. Your work wasn’t a 9-5, and it made scheduling stable, but also flexible. But watching anyone’s kid for more than a few hours a day and once in a while is not a light responsibility. Children also come with a parent package, and R came with you. She, I was sure of, but you, I wasn’t. Honestly, I just wanted to spend time with R for a few hours and leave at the end of the shift.
You were open! You were nervous! You are kind! You communicated! You were trusting! You were vulnerable! And you were still a mother! Days turned into weeks. Weeks turned into months and months into years. Mutual trust, love, and respect were built as one-day-a-week turn into three days.
It was October 2017...
As the days and hours with R grew in intensity, so did my writing and event planning responsibilities. Work growth meant dwindling hours with R.. It went from three days to two until it became no more. On October 13th, 2017, exactly three years after that first day in 2014, I communicated my decision to move on and we closed a chapter.
In honor of your 45th birthday, Stef, here are 10 reasons why you are outstanding to me.
- I had an idea of the kind of mother I desire to be, and you truly are a mirror. It was uncanny sometimes.
- I enjoy how we communicated with our eyes whenever R does/says something silly or when someone acts up in public, and we laugh with our inner eyes knowing we are going to talk about this in detail later and follow it up with a laughing session.
- You accommodated my low and “I need to just do my job” days, and accepted that I can’t always be jovial, enthusiastic, and happy. Life, good and bad, was happening when I was not with R, and some days, the stress, pain or hurt sat on my face
- You created an environment that enabled me to ask for what I needed, and you gave me what I needed. You took care of me.
- Your humor and wit crack me up. You can turn any phrase or word into something funny, and let’s be honest, sexual. It is a gift and strength, and you use it well. You are a sex educator, after all!
- For the moments we grabbed our tummies with tears running down our cheeks because we are laughing so hard, and then R rolls her eyes and thinks we are a silly bunch.
- For group hugs and dance parties with R and also those spontaneous hallway dance moves. We are the perfect dancers for Rihanna, Taylor Swift and Bruno Mars, but they just don’t know it yet.
- Your dedication to your students! Dear AU students, if you are reading this, Stef Wood is for you.
- For learning alongside me that relationships of all kinds are a journey you take with people, and if you both allow yourself the liberty to shove your biases and prejudices aside while navigating the delicate nuances of an employer-employee based relationship-friendship, you grow and emerge and evolve.
- For my Munchkin; for R!