A Nanny Recovers From PTSD
Don't make a quick judgement, I told myself as we rode the elevator to my daughter's dance class this morning. We were sharing the ride with another mother and her little girl. She had lots of bows and a pink chiffon sweater to match her pink chiffon hair bows and her perfect pigtails. A pink chiffon skirt trailed from underneath her jacket.
You know that you have no control nor desire to control your daughter's preferences, I told myself. Why assume this woman has any say in what her daughter wears? You are a mother now, you know better. You have known since you were a nanny that children like to dress themselves in certain ways, some combination of costume gleaned from cultural and familial references and innate personality. Don't make assumptions.
The mother wasn't warm. My daughter and I are so chatty that I am quick to dislike someone who isn't immediately effusive or generous with conversation or clearly desirous of forming some sort of we're-in-it-together bridge with a stranger. Perhaps I try too hard. Perhaps others don't try hard enough. Perhaps both. I know I'll ponder that for days despite knowing there's no objective answer to that question.
The mother was blond and her hair was blown-out and her jeans were tight and her boots were untouched by months of brutal weather. I felt small next to her, partly because I am small and she was tall but also because silence feels like a reproach when one is eager to converse.
A child is in my daughter's class who happen to be a television star's offspring. The star came the first day, with her nanny, and tried to hide behind her ski hat and glasses. She just wanted to be able to attend the class with her baby like all the other parents. I perhaps wish for that problem on some days, but that day I felt her pain and the compromises of stardom.
After class that first day, the blond, tight-jeaned mother, while clutching her chiffon princess's hand, went up to the television star. A frisson ran through me and I hadn't even heard the gambit yet. But I knew. I knew.
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