Today was my last day being Dylan's nanny. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't going to miss him. We've been through so much during the last 9 months. Dylan was dignosed with autism when he was two and a half, he's seven now.
We met in Israel, by an ice cream store that his mom and I agreed to meet at. I found her ad on a website saying she needed a live in nanny for her baby while she attends school with her other son, Dylan. I got the job on the spot, we just clicked. So every day I'd watch Brady, the baby. As time went on though I grew a strong connection with Dylan. I really never thought I'd have anything to offer a special-needs-child but apparently I had everything to offer. He ended up being the highlight of my day. We'd go for walks around the streets of Israel. Obviously it was far from easy but I learned a lot and grew patience. He loved me just as much as I adored him. There were moments where I wanted to quit but other times where I couldn't imagine leaving.
At one point his mother needed to go back to the States, so she asked me to watch him. Never in my life would I have imaged being responsible for a seven year old boy with autism, in a country all alone. I had friends and family in Israel but none of his, and they weren't exactly going to move in and help me. It was only for a few days but it felt like longer.
I would wake up and get him dressed, feed him, take him to school, then to different therapy sessions all around Jerusalem. Then I would watch and feed him and got him ready for bed. This might sound easy, but it wasn't. I was his mommy for those few days, and he my son.
Weirdly enough he actually behaved better those few days then when his mother was there. We became extremely close. I would tease him sometimes by letting go of his hand and walking a bit faster than him, he'd run and grab my hand and hold it. In the past he would have just run away or stood in place and spaced out, but he was attached to me. I would turn to him and ask "do you love me?" and he'd reply "yah" it was close enough to "yeah" to make me smile.
He then left back to the States, leaving me heartbroken. I'd cry randomly (I never cry) and just look at his photos and think of him all the time. I felt like I had lost a part of me and it hurt. I've been surrounded and working with kids most of my life, but with him I got more attached than I had planned.
Dylan's mom missed me and asked me to come to the States to be his Nanny in New York, I agreed, as what choice did I have? I needed to see him again. When I came in I was so glad to see him. We went for a walk in his backyard. I stopped walking and made him stop too.
"Dylan, do you remember me? Do you remember when I watched you in Israel, and it was just you and me? and You loved me and I loved you?"
He smiled, hugged me and gave me a kiss. His kisses are more like him putting his teeth against my cheek, he doesn't know how to pucker up. I stood there shocked. He never hugged me normally just backed into my arms. He had remembered. I felt bad for underestimating him, for thinking He'd forget about me.
After that I lived in his New York house for five months and boy did we have our bumps in the road. He got abusive at one point and my arms were covered in bite marks and red scratch marks. We both went through our turn in shedding tears.
I left last month to visit California for three weeks, and returned early to attend Dylan's sister's 12th birthday party. When I saw Dylan sitting with his weekend nanny I ran over to say hello. I was crossing my fingers and hoping he'd recognize me and remember me. When he saw me his entire face lit up and when I asked what my name was he said it while smiling.
I wanted to break down in tears, wanted to hug and kiss him. Throughout the night Dylan kept kissing my cheek and squealing while placing our foreheads against each others and rubbing our noses. I took him to the dance floor and danced with him, well tried. We held hands while he went up in front of the crowd of guests to light the candle. It was a great reunion.
I slept over at the house and today was my last official day. We went down to the park and pier and simply watched the water hit the sand. It seemed to fascinate him. Sitting under the shade of a tree and looking out at the beautiful park was a great way to start our last day together. Throughout the day he was crying and unhappy because he was so tired from the night before. So I took him in his room to lay down. I tickled him and gave him hugs and kisses.
He was giggling and kissing my cheek. He would also just stop and look at me and in my eyes. I was truly in love with this child. I put him to sleep a few hours ago and I have no idea when the next time I'll see him will be, but I do know that he'll have a place in my heart forever.