Hello world!

We have nominated our au pair Vivi for au pair of the year.  I thought I would share my submission and the reasons why she is amazing and why I am so happy to be a part of this program.

Vivi first came to our home in July 2012 when my twin girls, Madison & Riley were just 4 months old. Madison & Riley were born at just 29 weeks and spent 2 months in the NICU so when Vivi arrived they had only been home for about 2 months and were still very small. Shortly after her arrival, my husband and I separated. Vivi took this upheaval in our family in stride- with maturity, grace and compassion. After all, this wasn’t what she signed up for – she signed up for twins and a host mom & host dad and she got a broken family and two very small babies.   I returned to work after a couple of months and Vivi had to manage the girls on her own – anyone with multiples knows this is no easy task – especially for a 22 year old. There were doctor appointments and follow up visits, and sleepless nights and oh so many diapers and bottles and laundry! Despite the rocky start, she quickly became part of our family – being part of their christening, and all of the other firsts – first thanksgiving, first Christmas and first birthday. She sang Colombian nursery rhymes and cooed over them as they responded to her so naturally. When she returned to Colombia in June 2013 we were so sad to see her go, but kept in touch and she watched the girls continue to flourish over the years by skype and facebook and emails. Much like the NICU nurses and doctors who cared for the girls when they were first born, Vivi deserves so much credit for their care during that first year. She was such a blessing to our family.   Fast forward to early 2015 when Vivi decided she wanted to return to our family for what I call “a second tour of duty”. The adorable babies she had left were now “three-nagers” with big personalities and lots of attitude but lots of love too. We were so excited to have her back and we picked up right where we had left off – even the girls were drawn to her immediately. Unfortunately, just a few weeks after her arrival to our home, my husband passed unexpectedly in our home. I found him during the night and mayhem ensued – with EMS workers and police filing into the house. She was there at 3am to hold my hand … and again at 7am to shield the children. Devastated doesn’t begin to describe the loss.   We are still stunned and heart broken. That said, when you have small children there really isn’t time to fall apart – you have no choice but to forge forward despite tragedy. If I were her, I might have turned and run for the hills. It’s a lot to handle your own traumatic event having someone pass in your home; now couple that with two confused toddlers and a heart broken host mom. With tears in my eyes as I write this, I have no doubt I could not have survived the past 3.5 months without her. Despite her arriving just weeks prior, she was already integrated into the family once more. She put aside her personal pain and really stepped up. She cared for the girls when I couldn’t. She coordinated with other family to ensure we were all taken care of. She loves my girls and is patient and kind with them when they ask about their daddy. She is compassionate when they act out because they are sad or in pain. She shows them unconditional love and showers them with affection. There are days still when I get upset and have to leave the room to compose myself for a moment. Whether she is “on duty” or “off duty” she jumps in to help out. She keeps the children organized, entertained and excited. From my home office I can hear giggles and hysterics throughout the day. When they are with her I have no worries that they are safe and happy. When our “elf on a shelf”, Filomena (whom she named 2 years ago) returned the other day she watched with pure joy as the girls discovered Filomena had returned and quite possibly might have been more excited than the girls were. The songs she started singing to them over 2 years ago the girls still sing and dance to – and now they know all the words! Vivi is enthusiastic about almost everything we do and watching her enjoy every new experience with the girls truly brings me joy. She hardly ever asks for anything and when I thank her repeatedly for all she’s done – she shrugs it off saying “that’s what family is for”. She has become like a second daughter to me and truly a friend. We are so very blessed to have her in our lives and as a part of our family. For this I think she deserves the au pair of the year award – I can’t think of a more deserving candidate who has gone above and beyond to help our family overcome so much this year.

Thursday, 7 May 2015 4:29 PM

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