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My “Sisters”

Au Pairs as Sisters

This past weekend, Michelle and I spent a lot of time speaking with families at the Vancouver Baby and Family Fair.  We met many wonderful people and we enjoyed explaining the Au Pair process to curious and interested parents.  What I gained from the experience was an even greater appreciation of how rich my family has become as a result of hosting Au Pairs.  The more I described my positive experiences with my beloved Au Pairs from Germany, Ireland and Quebec, the more blessed I felt.  Admittedly, I’ve bragged before about how wonderful these girls were and are, but as I detailed some of my appreciation for them to others, I left the Vancouver Convention Centre with a warm glow.  How lucky I am to have had Lisa, Sanna, Audrey, Kristina and Rachael spend a year of their lives with my family.  Here are some reasons why I love them so…

Boy with Love HeartsWhen my sons were small our first Au Pair, Lisa from Germany arrived.  She had training in preschool education and she not only entertained my boys with her guitar, crafts and baking but also took them on adventures and laughed and loved them with all her heart.  She missed them so much after returning to Germany that she returned a year later while on vacation to spend time with us again.  She was comforting when I had a miscarriage in my second trimester and was a rock when I was a puddle.  For her I am grateful, sisters we have become.

Our second Au Pair, Sanna from Germany, was a gem.  Although only 18 when she arrived, her maturity was beyond her years.  She had boundless energy for my rambunctious boys and even more energy keeping herself fit by cycling all over Vancouver, rock climbing and studying fitness.  Not only did she help me through the heartbreaking loss of my beloved dog, but she also helped my family welcome our third child. Sanna made the transition from two kids to three a breeze for me and the gentle care she provided for my newborn daughter was second to none.  Because I was home from work on maternity leave, Sanna and I spent a lot of time together and I never tired of her company,  sisters we have become.

Our third Au Pair, Audrey from Quebec, arrived on our doorstep after a long cross-Canada trip.  Her smile could have stopped traffic and her personality was just as charming and loveable.  Audrey also had experience in a daycare setting and her patience with my children was never-ending.  She filmed, photographed and documented my children like most parents do and the love and adoration she developed for our family was unquestionable.  She stayed up until midnight helping me decorate cookies and cakes on special occasions and put in volunteer hours at our local police agency.  She always put our family and others first and because of her enormous heart, sisters we have become.

Our fourth Au Pair, Kristina from Germany arrived in 2013.  Kristina came to Canada seeking change, a new culture and the security of living with a family in a vibrant and beautiful Canadian city.  Kristina spent the majority of her time with our youngest daughter, as the older boys were in school.  Our daughter lovingly nicknamed her “Deeni” and followed Kristina around like a puppy dog.  She never tired of the endless tea parties, puzzles and story books and was always pleasant, dependable, and trustworthy.  Kristina’s flexibility with her schedule, her loyalty and kindness will always be remembered, sisters we have become.

Red glass heart in woman handsOur fifth and current Au Pair, Rachael from Ireland has already taught us so much.  Rachael has a University degree from the UK and specialized in working with children with disabilities.  I’ve learned so much from her in the three short months that she has been here and I appreciate her gentle kindness with the children and her ability to bring calm to almost every situation.  She has taught us more about Irish history than I knew (and I was a History major) and is always willing to help out even when “off-duty.”  She too is subjected to countless tea parties and endless afternoons of Candyland, Chutes and Ladders and story books and never seems phased by the monotony of it all.  “That’s grand, ” she replies… sisters we have become.

I had a brother growing up, no sisters.  Although I love my brother very much, I always envied the relationship I witnessed between sisters.  Now, in my thirties, I have five “sisters.”  My heart is full.  I imagine myself at their weddings and meeting their sweet babies when the time comes.  I cannot imagine not being a part of their lives down the road.  Sisters forever.

For those of you contemplating an Au Pair, you too could be as lucky as I.

 

Erin Findlay

Canadian Au Pair Solutions

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