Have you ever called a friend when upset about something, only to hear their kindly, familiar voice at the other end of the phone and like TOTALLY LOSE IT?
This happened to me yesterday.
I was at work lining up to get my embarrassing coffee order (skinny latte, single shot, extra hot blah blah – suffice to say they know me at the canteen), when I got an email from my nanny to say that she would be leaving us in January to focus on her business.
This in itself was a shock to the core, and terribly sad as we’ve been together for six years – since I went back to work after my first, and I had the romantic notion that we would only ever have one nanny.
Also we share with an amazing family. I love the mum; the kids love each other like siblings but with fewer arguments. When my oldest Marla (7) was talking to her friends about why they were pretty decent at reading, they agreed it was because they all had older brothers and sisters. The other two biologically do. We have the nanny share ‘big brother’.
So far, so already really sad. But when I got to the bit in my nanny’s email about how much she cared about my kids, how she had ‘enjoyed looking after them and loving them’, and watching them grow into ‘awesome human beings who I know in time will make big changes in making this world a better place. I love them dearly’… Well unprofessional tears started backing up seriously by this point. Then I got to the front of the queue and the kindly coffee maker asked if I was ok – which caused the tears to burst their banks and flood unprofessionally down my cheeks – and the poor woman to look away rather quickly possibly wishing she hadn’t asked.
I scrubbed at my eyes with some recyclable canteen napkins and went off to find somewhere to hide/pull myself together.
We have these weird one person booths at work so I located myself in one of those in a corner and resolved to call my most optimistic and upbeat friend so that she could say good things to me like ‘it’ll be fine’, ‘the world won’t end’ ‘I can help’.
So I called. And she answered. But then I couldn’t speak. I was overtaken by this upwelling of raw emotion. My world had collapsed. My babies cast adrift. My career under threat. Abandoned. I was sobbing, yelping, sniffing. Trying to speak but being unable. With a mounting realisation that my poor friend on the other end of the line was probably thinking someone had actually died.
To allay her fears I managed to squeak out ‘childcare’ between a snort and a sniff before relapsing into uncontrollable sobbing. Unfortunately this had the exact opposite effect to that intended – which was that she thought I was desperately squeaking for ‘childcare’ – for her to look after the kids while I, presumably, headed off to the morgue.
Nevertheless she was calm. ‘Breathe’ she said. Which I did. Which eventually seemed to work and I could explain to the poor woman why I was calling! ‘It’ll be fine’, she said. ‘The world won’t end’ ‘I can help’.
And she has. Within hours she, and other lovely, supportive local friends have sent me references and links to nannies, childminders, neighbours who might want to share a nanny in the area. I’m not on my own. And having cried me an ocean in my green booth for a good part of yesterday, I woke up feeling puffy eyed but calmer today. It’ll be fine. Jo said so.