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.