The other night, our beloved babysitter, Esperanza, announced that she was planning to retire in October. I knew the day would eventually arrive, but I still cried when she told me. We lovingly refer to her as the girls’ second grandmother.
And truth be told, other than Papa and me, she has spent more time with the girls than anyone else. We hired her just after Chloe was born. In February 2001, Esperanza responded to an ad we pinned on the bulletin board in the laundry room of the building we were living in at the time. We interviewed several women, but as soon as she came through our door, we knew she’d be perfect. She went to the bathroom to wash her hands and took our infant Chloe in her arms. And it was love at first sight.
Esperanza has been part of our family for 11 years. She followed us from that first apartment to the condo we bought in 2002 to the house we bought in 2004. She helped Chloe adapt to taking breastmilk from a bottle – that was not easy. She drove me to the hospital when I went into labor with Sophie. She changed hundreds (if not thousands) of Sophie’s and Chloe’s diapers. She has given the girls hundreds of baths over the years and prepared just as many meals.
Esperanza faithfully came back to us after a seven month hiatus that took place when I took a break from work between May 2007 and January 2008. She knows more about us as a family than anyone else, except perhaps my mother. She helped raise our girls into the mostly lovely children they are and she has always kept our household functioning smoothly.
And in a few months, after decades of hard work, Esperanza will finally get to spend more time with her own family and her beautiful grandchildren. I am very happy for her. But more than a little sad for us.