About a month before I gave birth to Lea, the spousal unit thoughtfully urged me to get some help around the homestead. This person was going to have to be 100% Ver-friendly because she and I would be spending entire days together co-managing the brood. I couldn't just "sorta" like her; I had to adore her. No surprise, then, that I ended up hiring a young, new-to-the-country Filipina with a full-throated laugh who was in the middle of some sort of hellish situation at an elder-care facility where she was on call for 18 hours a day. Knowing how desperately she needed the job, they worked her 28 to 30 days a month.
For some reason I still don't understand, her boyfriend's sister brokered our deal. "Does she have any experience with kids?" I asked.
"No, but you know Filipinos."
And that was pretty much that.
C. stayed with us for two years and attended nursing school at the same time. Sometimes I flatter myself by thinking that she thought of me as a maternal figure, but the truth is that we mothered each other. Not to mention the children. Late one afternoon, about three weeks after she started, I asked her to put a pot of rice on for dinner. "You trust me!" she said. "That means you trust me!" She was right.
Anyways, by the time Lea turned two, C. and I were ready to let each other go: the part-time accounting job she had was giving her the option of full-time, and the twins were about to start pre-school. The transition was smooth, and we eased it with phone calls and e-mail. It's been almost two years since she took care of us.
I mention all this not because there's some fantastic ending to the story, but because Monday she called to say she was taking Thursday off, and could she come spend it with the girls? The timing couldn't have been better for me. Without getting into details, let me just say that I am an overextended and very tired Ver. She played with the girls in the morning while I went and did the stuff that's overextending me. At lunchtime, when my excellent parents showed up with major loot from the Serramonte farmer's market, C. pushed me towards the bedroom saying—just like she used to—"Go, go. Go take a nap."
Which I did. A very, very long nap.
And so here's to C., who I hope knows how much we always appreciated her.