Anyone who has lived on the east coast for a while knows that every winter a portion of the population migrates south with the birds. And where is it they go? Florida of course! As it turns out, that’s where my nanny family moved to last year (it was last year, right? time has been moving so weirdly recently!) and so I had the perfect excuse to migrate south for a week this February! (Or the perfect excuse to see my nanny family, depending on how you look at it!)
My only desire was to see everyone and catch up, which I definitely got to do and LOVED! My hostess (aka Emily, Caroline’s mom) also made sure we did plenty of fun things while I was there, which was an added bonus for sure! But I’m getting ahead of myself…
I flew down from frigid Blacksburg on Monday in my three coats and was greeted by a giggling Caroline, a sleeping little brother, my wonderful hostess, and some Florida humidity to go with the sunshine. (take that, dry skin!) I was amazed at how much the kiddos have grown! I’ve seen pictures of them over the year, but there’s something different about being in person, hearing their increased vocabulary, watching them walk (baby brother was not a baby anymore!) and seeing them interact that really highlights their growth in ways that photos cannot.
Once Caroline got over her giggles and we arrived at their home, the fun began! Caroline showed me her room and, much to my surprise, proudly announced that she has a “jack-and-jill bathroom.” (She’s only three! I know adults who don’t know that phrase! I didn’t know it until I started interning at an architecture firm in college!) I was promptly introduced to old and new toys alike and made to feel right at home.
Once I got settled in we went on a stroll through the neighborhood, stopping by a lake to see the ducks, turtles, and other birds. (I’m so used to seeing cardinals and blue jays, but these were long-billed southern birds I guess! I didn’t recognize any of them!) It was great to be outside without those three jackets I had worn to the airport earlier that morning!
That evening I got to watch the kids by myself for a bit while Emily went to work (she’s one of those ridiculously amazing and inspiring working moms!) and before I passed them off to their dad (who is also so smart and hardworking!). It was so fun to witness Caroline being a big sister and for me to get to work on cultivating a friendship with her little brother. (I’ve interacted with him a couple of times in the past, but not since he started walking and talking! He’s like a real kid now! It’s nuts!)
The Following Days
The following days were filled with lots of fun, including a trip to the Orlando Science Center, strawberry picking, a playground outing, and an afternoon at their grandparents’ pool! (Got some more of that Florida sunshine!)
I watched Daniel Tiger for the first time, sat in a tree with Caroline, learned about papyrus, saw orange/lemon/cherry trees, discovered that strawberry plants are much shorter than I realized, visited the Rifle Paper Co. flagship store, witnessed so much intentional, grace-filled parenting, assisted in brainstorming ideas for a new guest room layout, helped drop Caroline off at preschool, saw her swim/float around in the pool, and learned that Allegiant is a reasonable budget airline (if you can fit all of your stuff in a personal item, which I did successfully thank-you-very-much)!
I was re-confronted with the reality that I am definitely a night owl in my normal life, that children will inevitably change that, and that cheese does not agree with my digestive system. (TMI perhaps? haha)
Overall, I am SO thankful that I got to go on this trip, that I have that flexibility in my schedule and finances, and that I was so lovingly received and hosted! I am grateful beyond belief for that family and my experience nannying, as well as for all of the additional memories we have been able to create since then!
As always, thanks for reading! And feel free to leave any of your traveling adventures or nanny family stories in the comments. 🙂