Facebook, in many ways, replicates the high school environment so well. Large pool of potential friends, some friendships more active than others, the ability to break off into small groups of like-minded individuals. Groups and individuals alike proclaim their beliefs on their walls, much like we all plastered posters all over campus inviting people to join a club or buy candy to fundraise for a cause or endorse a fellow classmate for Senior Class president. Our photo albums are a sort of dynamic yearbook – chronicling the sports events and dances and milestones of our lives.
And, like in high school, often we sever ties with a friend only for us to have to see that person hanging around with other people we know and like, and you don’t have a choice but to have that person’s face in front of you, opening old wounds and forcing you to think about things you haven’t or don’t want to anymore.
I’ve written about our old nanny before. Things ended poorly. Horrible things were said by her and her sister about myself and H, untrue things, and we both felt incredibly betrayed. We had treated this person like a member of the family, and she had been with us since the twins were 3 ½ months old. I trusted this person with my infants, my toddlers, my pre-schoolers, and in many ways she broke my heart. She is the reason why I’m leery of having our current nanny live with us.
She got pregnant when I did last summer, choosing to actively TTC with no job (she was working for us for the summer because she didn’t want to move back here permanently) with a boy who was already a “baby daddy” to another child he didn’t have rights to because he made some horrible choices. He currently (or last I knew) sits in jail for a plethora of small reasons that ultimately add up to jail time. Having a baby for her meant she could pursue welfare as a viable life option, despite all of our efforts to show her a better life – that she was worth so much more than that. Her pregnancy at the time of my miscarriage was like the most painful of “oops” pregnancies. She approached it with me horribly, simply sending me a picture of a positive pregnancy test via text, then acting upset when H and I didn’t act “supportive” enough. When H expressed to her that she could have been more sensitive, things went from uncomfortable to unacceptable, and the only saving grace for me was that I was out of town at my parent’s house when the shit eventually hit the fan. All I wanted, when I got home, was NOT to have a pregnant person in my house. H managed to smooth things over before she left, but I chose not to reply when she texted me a halfhearted “sorry.”
I cut off all ties. We hired a new nanny (who we adore), took the old nanny off of my facebook friends list. H did the same. Some of our friends did not (nor did we expect them to). As a result, she will sometimes comment on things they post, especially if they include N or J. Before Christmas, she emailed me on facebook, because she’d re-requested me as a friend and I’d declined. I replied, and told her that after everything, I was unable at that time to be friends with her. I saw by way of profile pictures next to her comments on mutual friends’ posts that she had her baby. A boy. My heart ached. In some strange way I felt like she’d stolen my baby. It made no sense. But it hurt nonetheless. Mother’s Day, she emailed H and said she missed us, missed the kids, and hoped we had a good Mother’s Day. As far as I know, H didn’t reply.
Today, I saw she’d commented on a picture of my cousin’s. Her profile picture was an old one of her and N and J squeezed together making funny faces. Somewhere in me, something softened. Sure, she left at our request, but she was leaving anyway a week later (we all were in agreement this was a short term solution until we found someone permanent), but leaving children you’ve helped raise for four years must be heart wrenching. I know she loves my children. And the kids talk about her every now and then – when they see pictures of her, or have a memory of something they did with her.
I don’t know. Something changed for me today. Seeing pictures of her with the kids up until now had just made me angry. But all of a sudden I hurt for her. For her to miss two amazing kids who she spent so much time with. And part of me felt – wrong. Wrong for taking that from her because of my own hurt. Wrong for taking that from N and J because I was grieving. Should I have been the bigger person, the mature one, the one to teach her better how to navigate these situations instead of cutting her off completely? Sure, on some level that wasn’t my responsibility as her employer. But like I said, she was more like a family member to us, and I felt very “big sister”-ly toward her.
My difficulty is I don’t believe that the choices she’s made make her a positive role model, especially for J. Sure, she doesn’t live close by, and ultimately the likelihood of us even seeing her in person anytime soon is extremely small. So I’m at a loss. But there is a part of me that feels like some of the wrong is on my side, and I don’t know if it’s a wrong I need to right or just let go. Seeing her profile picture – her with the twins – knowing how much she loves them and they loved her – just makes me wonder how much my own hurt got in the way of something that didn’t have to turn out the way it did.