Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous

Last night I watched the movie Nanny Diaries. It was cute, but it hit really close to home. While my friends laughed as the kid threw a tantrum in the elevator and locked her out, all I could think was, "Yeah, that has totally happened to me." Now, by no means are either of my two nanny jobs that bad. I don't work full time, and the moms are very involved in their children's lives. But I definitely come in contact with nannies and families who are like that.  It will never cease to amaze me that most families in NYC leave it to a nanny to raise their children, or at least use one to help full time moms (paying them exuberant amounts).

Recently, my nannying experience has brought me face-to-face with some celebrities and their kids. I must say, I am the last person to celebrity stalk. I'm pretty clueless when it comes to actors and for the most part can't even name the ones in my favorite movies. And if someone hadn't been there to point them out to me or if I knew I was looking for them, I could probably walk right past people without giving them a second glance. Luckily, the mom I nanny for gave me a heads up that some celebs sent their kids to the school her kids go to. As I was picking up the kids one day I was brought face to face with Meg Ryan. That was pretty exciting because I can actually name a few of the movies she's in. Then, at the park, Matthew Broderick and Sarah Jessica Parker's son introduced himself to me. As in he said, "Hi, are you (x's) new babysitter, L? I'm James." I was a bit astonished to say the least. The other day I spotted his mom picking him up at school. It's a strange life.

Sometimes I think that the families I nanny for are just so normal, but really, normal is very different in the city. This week alone I was left watching kids in apartments where someone else (not the mom) was cleaning twice. Another woman was worried about leaving me with all 3(gasp!) of her young boys for a half hour. The baby was sleeping, and I told her that I had experience babysitting four at a time. She seemed surprised that the house was still together when she got back since the baby was awake. The moms I have come to know here all have this same sense of dependence on help. It's not all bad, and hey, if you can afford someone to give you several hours of self-time a week, why wouldn't you. And living in small apartments without a backyard to send your kids to, and having to walk, take the subway, or catch a cab wherever you go adds some difficulty to life. But really, I sometimes wonder.

Monday, May 21, 2012

A Trip on the Q

I wake up, it's Sunday, I get ready to go
Choose out a punjabi top, decide headscarf or no
Walk down the deserted streets of midtown
Hop down the stairs to the train going downtown.

Get on the subway, choose an empty seat.
Most people get off at 14th Street.
Small children with several books in Chinese
Are off to school at Canal street, their parents to please.

Up out of the dark and the sun shines bright
I look out and see the Freedom Tower standing upright.
Across the bridge we move slowly, watching the East River flow
Down into Brooklyn, I've got 10 stops to go.

Very few people move on this quiet train ride
And a few stops later into the sun we again glide.
With all the different people the ride is never a bore
A woman completely covered comes in through the door.

The last sip of coffee from my to-go mug I drink
Avenue J for Jesus, she had said, I think.
He will be working today, I haven't a doubt.
And with that prayer we stop and I step out.

It's a different world than an hour ago
Women wear long skirts, their knees do not show.
Strollers have command of the sidewalks
I take everything in and enjoy the short walk.

I see the women, "Salaam Aleekum" I say
How are you and your family today?
English, the pledge, and writing we teach
But hopefully it's their hearts we will reach.

A trip on the Q brought me all this way
And only 2 hours each week will we all stay.
I remember my days in Sudan and Nepal
And know that by my ride on the Q I continue to follow that call.