Monday, May 31, 2010


It was a sad weekend for us. Happy and sad. We said goodbye to Tang, our au pair who has lived with us since the boys were 4 months old. After searching for potential child care for the boys last year, I decided to go the au pair route. It was a last minute decision so we had to find a match very quickly.

Tang was the first au pair I was sent as a match. She is from Thailand and the agency said her English was a 6 on scale of 10. Her English was so hard to understand that I passed on her. I was given 2 other au pairs and neither one appealed to me. I remember telling my husband that I had a very good feeling about Tang and that we should go with her.

The process went quickly and before we knew it, we were preparing our house to welcome a stranger. A stranger who would care for our boys. We were nervous because we didn't know what to expect. And nervous because we were entrusting our children to a total stranger.

I picked Tang up from the airport and she looked nervous and unsure. And she kept bowing to me in greeting. We got her settled in and went over things with her and the local area coordinator. Believe it or not, the first day I left her by herself with the boys, I didn't worry too much. We spent the day before going on their feeding and nap times. It did not take long for her to get a routine down. As the boys got older, it became apparent that she knew their schedules better than I did. She was like a baby whisperer. Sometimes it was aggravating how she would tell me how to take care of them but I guess that was to be expected. The kids saw her more than they saw me in a typical day. Rod would say that the hierarchy was me, Tang and then Rod. It was true. If I wasn't here, they seemed to gravitate towards Tang.

In the beginning, she would work her hours for the day and then go to her room for the night and we would not see her until she started the next morning. As time went on, she would hang around with us as we played with the kids and got them ready for bed. She truly became a part of this family. It was almost like having a teenage daughter.

She was always willing to help out with the boys. She was especially helpful when my FIL passed away and we went to visit family. She took care of the boys.

It's hard to imagine what it was like for her to come to live with strangers. Not knowing if the host family was decent or if they were crazy and demanding. I think we were laid back and easy going when it came to her living here. She got lots of weekends where she could go out and visit friends. It's also understandable that she would get attached to her charges. The boys have grown so much in the last year, it makes sense that she would grow to love them. And you could tell she loved these boys. If we had visitors who wanted to play with Sam and Dean, she would hand around to make sure they were ok. She would even hang around to make sure Rod and I were ok with the boys whenever were took care of them without the other spouse around. Maybe she thought we couldn't handle babysitting our own kids.

When her year was coming to an end, we debated keeping her on for another year. I decided that it would be best for the boys to start day care. They would be at that age where their language would be quickly developing and I was wanting a more structured environment for them. Of course I weighed the cost and the pros and cons. They would be exposed to more illnesses. It would be more out of pocket for 2 kids in daycare. In the end, we decided to let Tang go.

We had a surprise going away party for her on Saturday. Her au pair friends came to celebrate. They cooked Thai food and cleaned up. It was a fun day. She got to say goodbye to her friends. She wanted to keep the boys for her last night and she ended up with Sam. In the morning, she visited with the boys while waiting to leave for the airport. She started crying when she held Sam. I started crying. It was not pretty. That is the first time I ever saw that kind of emotion from her. Of course, the boys had no idea what was going on, they went about their playing.

She wrote the sweetest thank you card to us. She thanked us for everything and said how lucky she was that we were her host family. She wanted to visit when she got some vacation and have the boys say her name. Saying goodbye is so hard. You never know what will happen and if you will ever see that person again. We would love for her to come visit if she got the chance. She has another year with her new host family before she goes back home to Thailand. If she came to visit, I am sure it would not take long for Sam and Dean to remember Tang.

We will miss you Tang. The boys will miss you especially.

Rod will miss Tang washing the dishes every night.


sarah said...

wow...I got emotional just reading your post. She sounded like a wonderful person to have as part of your family, even if it was for a short time.

Xtina said...

I teared up also.