You may have read that in late August, a Bronx childcare worker was indicted on manslaughter charges in the death of a 19-month old boy. Two years ago a Manhattan nanny stabbed two children to death. A Westchester nanny from Switzerland burned a three-month old girl to death in the early nineties. I could go on. Grisly nanny stories make headlines.
But what about the good nannies, those who saved our lives in so many ways? According to an article in The New York Times in 2012, virtually nothing is known about children for whom nannies have had a profoundly positive impact. Allow me to help correct this imbalance. Here are two examples from people who wanted to share the stories of their own good nannies with us. (Because of the deeply personal nature of their stories, the people prefer to remain anonymous.)
The nanny affectionately called Miss T. helped raise Nancy A., who grew up on the Upper West Side of New York City, a daughter of immigrants who fled the Polish Free Corridor and eventually settled in London only to leave one month before the Blitz began. Nancy’s parents sponsored the nanny they had already employed to come to America. Nancy says, “Miss T. favored me, protected me and made me feel special. She was also very opinionated and determined. Because of Miss T., I became a confident women who speaks her mind.”
Margaret Mary Wade was the nanny to Jack and his sister in South Orange, N.J. “Margaret was my go-to parent,” he says. “She was there when I was scared, needed someone with patience, needed someone to sit with me when I was sick. One of the reasons I believe in myself is because she believed 100 percent in me. How lucky I was!” Margaret was sent to America when she was 13 to escape the Black and Tans who were killing people in Ireland. When Jack had children of his own, Margaret returned to take care of them.
For those of us who had parents who were unable or unwilling to fulfill their roles alone, thank goodness for our good nannies. National Nanny Recognition Week begins on September 21, a perfect time to honor them.