Saturday, November 15, 2008

Part V: The Before We Were Married Story

This story begins here if you're crazy and want to read the whole thing.

I was ecstatic. I was over the moon. I was getting married.

The people I was nannying for were more than surprised. "Oh! Greg!?! The one who you're just friends with?" and "Are you sure you're not just rushing into this because of your parents' situation?" (they were in the process of separation/divorce). If anything, I would be less interested in getting engaged/married right away because of that.

Now came time for planning. So let's see. . . we're at the beginning of November. My nannying contract ends at the beginning of next August. . .Greg has his plans for Christmas and I am excited to travel with the family I'm nannying for to places like Italy and France (I think) and Utah and Colorado (avid skiers). Looks like it's going to be a Very Long Engagement in terms of both time and distance.

But wait!! Why not get married during the Christmas holidays!?! Then maybe some of our friends would still be around before leaving BYU for the break, to attend the wedding/reception. As soon as the idea was formed there was no going back. As if I was going to wait almost a year when we could get married in. . . seven weeks. Oh. Seven weeks. Wow! Seven weeks! That was coming right up!

The family I nannied for were very upset about this decision. They didn't really talk to me about it outright, but they were upset. And it showed. And soon it started showing even more obviously. When I was not on duty, they kept the little girl from me. I would walk in Sunday afternoon after church and Ali would come running to me and her dad would shout, "Alicia! Come back here!" and the poor, confused little two year-old would turn back around and go to her father. She also wasn't allowed to come downstairs and play in the evenings either. I know there were two reasons for this behavior. First of all they didn't want her to get too attached to me. Well it was too late for that, of course, but they wanted to help her become unattached. And secondly they were upset and wanted to punish me.

This was so hard on me. I ate dinner with the family, and where there used to be plenty of conversation and way too much teasing (the dad was a major teaser), there was little if any conversation and zero teasing. This lasted for some weeks. In the meantime, I was doing all I could to find a replacement for myself since I was breaking my contract. (I never actually signed anything--which I know doesn't matter--but I took the job after being assured that I would have Internet access and they also said that they would pay for me to take night classes. Neither of these options were available once I got there. So I felt like they hadn't kept up their end of the deal, either. I know, I'm justifying it. Whatever.)

One night I was crying on the phone to my mom. I was feeling overwhelmingly ostracized and hurt that the parents were trying to turn my favorite little girl against me. I was telling my mom everything. At some point a head peeked in my bedroom door. It was the dad. He saw that I was bawling, and had probably heard at least some of what I'd been saying to my mom. When the rest of his body followed his head into the room, I saw that he was carrying a little plate with two warm muffins on it and a glass of milk. He walked in and set them on the night stand by my bed, where I was sitting. Then he walked out.

There was something in his expression as he brought in that gesture of of forgiveness. Forgiveness that he was both granting and asking for. I also felt a tinge of guilt that he had heard me gossipping about him. For all these reasons I sobbed even harder. I looked at myself truthfully and was relieved to find that I hadn't been unfair in what I'd been telling my mom. I'd been giving facts and explaining how they made me feel. I think I was okay there. And I was so grateful for the humility it must have taken for him to make that gesture. And of course I was grateful for the muffins, too! Although, I don't remember thinking as much about the physical muffins as about what they represented. (I know! Even I can get past my obsession for baked goods sometimes!)

After that things changed for the better. We started talking. There wasn't as much banter as there had been before, but we were on good terms again, with only a little bit of awkwardness.
I loved my job. They tried to convince me that after we were married Greg should move in with me into their basement. I could nanny and Greg could transfer to a school nearby.They tried to make this option as attractive as possible. I sort of loved the idea, but it really wasn't all that feasible.

All this time Greg was responsible for putting the show together. I think my mother was his biggest helper, but he really did much of the arranging. I did nothing. He booked us a date at the Salt Lake temple on December 20th. There were --- sealings being preformed on that day. Ours was at eight thirty a.m. One of Greg's very best friend's was at eight. Oops. Our mutual friends had to make a choice. And we couldn't attend each other's weddings. Oh well, marriage is the main thing we were all after, and we were getting that, at least. We decided against a reception. Greg had no family (blood related, at least) to attend, and the people I grew up around were all in California. Plus we knew a lot of people would already have gone home for the holidays, and would therefore be out of state. Plus I never cared about things like receptions. I mean, if the situation had been different I would have probably wanted one, but mostly I wanted to be married.

All this time I'd been searching for a replacement nanny. One of the girls who had lived in the apartment upstairs from me in Provo had a sister that might be interested. She was! And she had some experience with children. In talking to her on the phone I wasn't blown away by her, but she sounded nice. The parents talked to her as well and agreed that she was the one. I was so relieved!

Two weeks before the wedding this girl, let's call her Emma, came out. I would train her for a few days before heading to SLC. She was quiet. She didn't really seem interested in Ali. After the first day spent together I realized that I needed to back off and let her get to know her on her own. We went to the mall. There was an orchestra playing on the level below. I was so excited to show Ali and talk all about it with her, but I stopped myself. I suggested that Emma show her. Emma took her to the glass overlooking the lower level. Ali was pointing and talking and Emma was leaning against the handrail staring at people walking by. I was so mad. I'm sure I shouldn't have been, but I was, and I went over and squatted down by Ali and listened to her and explained about some of the instruments, etc. I tried to teach Emma about getting down on Ali's level and trying to teach her and interest her in things. But I could tell Emma was not that kind of girl.

I was SO sad. Like, I cried about it (and I didn't have PMS). Ali was the most amazing little girl. She could talk a mile a minute. She was so smart and well behaved. She had barely turned two and I had taught her that instead of throwing a fit when something wasn't going right, she should just come to me and say, "Please help me!" And she did. All the time. She almost never threw any sort of fit at all. As I say, she was amazing. And beyond adorable. And Emma didn't care about that AT ALL.

I felt so bad and I talked to the parents about it. We told stories back and forth about things Emma had said or done or neglected to do. I was seriously appalled. The parents seemed to think it would be okay, though. They were fine with it. I was glad. And sad, at the same time.

Okay, I'm all typed out (if you're even reading, still!) More another day.


JustRandi said...

And that is the story of how baked goods once again triumphed over evil.

I love a happy ending.

And I love your story! Can't wait for the next installment. Do you still keep up with Ali?

Annette Lyon said...

I'm seriously annoyed at Emma.

And now I want to go make some muffins.

Erin said...

This is a really exciting story. I can't wait to hear more!

And I'm with Annette - if you plan on taking a nanny job, be interested in the child, for crying out loud!

Kazzy said...

I am sure it was a tough decision for you to get out of your nannying position, but I think a marriage opportunity trumps a nanny contract any day of the week. Glad it all worked out for you. I agree that a long engagement, when you are already well-acquainted, is not a great idea.

Heidi Ashworth said...

What Kazzy said. Plus, considering Greg's bit of waffling in the early days, I think I would have gone for immediate marriage, as well. Of course he still would have ended up with you---but there could have been a bit more waffling in the meantime which would have simply been a drag.

Mikelle said...

Just wanted to say Hi (I didn't want you to think I was a crazy stalker). You don't know me, I got your link from Just Randi. I went back and read your story from the beginning and I loved it! Can't wait for the next one!

Moody said...

That's so sweet about how Greg took over the wedding planning! What a guy!

I feel bad for Ali though. I wonder how many nannies she's been through. I know you were wonderful for her, but I just don't agree with the parents handing their kid off to a nanny to be raised. (I best get off my soap box before I start a rant).

This is a very interesting story. I'm loving every installment.

kitchenditcher said...

SO many things to learn from this part of the story!

Love hearing about your experiences.

Melissa said...

Um, you told this girl ONCE to just ask you for help instead of throwing a fit? I have told my 4-year-old A THOUSAND MILLION BILLION TIMES to JUST ASK FOR HELP instead of crying or throwing a fit! It has yet to work.

Alison Wonderland said...


Melanie J said...

Okay, I so hope that you tell us things ended up working out for Ali. I don't know why people get involved with kids if they're not totally crazy about them. That's so bizarre to me.

Heather said...

Lisa, I just have to say that you are a great story teller. I love all of the details, and I am still baffled my your amazing memory. After you finish the getting married story, you should start all the way back from your birth and write your whole autobiography. Do your parents read your blog? I had a hard time writing about my sister the other day because in the back of my mind I kept wondering if my parents would read it and get hurt. Not, that you have said anything hurtful about yours, but just the idea, like do you think about who will be reading it and does it hamper the writing process? Like what if Emma came across it? Anyway ,I can't wait to read the next installment.

Janine said...

So fun to read! It has always got to be a rough transition when an amazing nanny is lost. As hard as you tried, you were probably irreplaceable. Write more soon!

Anonymous said...

How my heart ached for you! I'm not sure if I'm unhappy about your employers, or "Emma" or the timing or the fact that you decided against having a reception or that his family couldn't be there....

I'm so impressed by your insight, though. Most girls at this time of their lives are so consumed with all the little details that nothing else matters except themselves. (Believe me, I work with Bridezilla's all the time!) Kudos to Greg for being a great guy, and to the two of you for keeping your perspective on what's important in life!

Thora said...

I'm impressed Greg took care of the wedding planning! That's also nice that although it wasn't perfect the rift of you leaving early was healed over, and you were able to leave on a good note and place with your nannying family.

I love reading this story!

Susan said...

They couldn't have harbored too much of a grudge. They came over and gave us a bunch of "Ali's" stuff when we were expecting Tyra. They stayed for dinner and chatting in the backyard while Ali played on the swingset. They also used it as a chance to get rid of her pacifier, saying to leave it "for the baby" now that she was big and didn't need the baby things, like the exersaucer, etc.

The worst part about the whole story is just this: you were IRREPLACEABLE and they knew it. They would've been almost as upset if you'd left them at the 1-yr mark!

Marivic_Little GrumpyAngel said...

The part about you leaving Emma made me sad, but I think if there was any justifiable reason it would be marrying your eternal companion. Hey, I got married in the the Salt Lake temple, too. And we had less than 4 weeks to put the wedding together, so I totally feel you on how crazy hectic that would be.

Josi said...

I just finished reading your story up to this point--very cool. Very REAL. We went to dinner with a friend in our ward and he served his mission in Poland, I told him about you guys and he said he bet is was a guy he called Povlick? He said he taught at the MTC and in Kaleb's words "We always teased him about looking for an American wife to take back to Poland"

So, does Greg know Kaleb Jeppeson?