Lissette Maria….. Who knew that name would change our family forever?
My husband and I each had children from our first marriages. They were pre-teens and we decided to start over and have another one. Amelia joined us in 2014 with an amazing addition of love and complexities of how we were going to balance a newborn and both of us working in the aviation industry with schedules that were anything but normal. In the 3 ½ years that followed, we went through 4 nannies. When we found out our last one was moving we were on the hunt again to find help. We had a couple of friends that had Au Pairs so we entertained the idea. My husband was more hesitant than I at first. Do we really want another person in our home? Can we trust them? Will that fit in with our family? What if it doesn’t work?
After a lot of discussion, we built our profile and started narrowing down who we thought maybe our match. We knew we wanted someone Spanish speaking, similar interest as our family, and who might be willing to stay two years. We narrowed it down to three beautiful young ladies. That is when the decision became hard. They all seemed wonderful.
I followed the little voice in my head and we chose Liss.
About a month later we were meeting her at the airport. When I first saw her she seemed very much like a young adult in awe of the world. After learning that this was her first trip on an airplane and the first time out of her country I completely understood. The next few weeks were great and challenging. Liss spoke very little English, which we knew before she arrived. We spent most conversations over google translate. Learning to drive here was also a challenge. We had to slow down and teach her our way of driving, driving is very different where she came from, meaning no rules, no lines, just go. She was a fast learner and we felt comfortable with her taking our youngest to school and other activities before to long.
We enrolled Liss in the ESL classes at the local community college and before we knew it, we were able to hold conversations with her without google translate or charades. Liss has continued to embrace learning, our culture, and family with an amazing sense of curiosity and loyalty.
We can’t begin to cover all the ways our lives have improved with Liss as our Au Pair.
First, childcare and help with Amelia have become stress-free. We give her our schedule and she is there. We aren’t worried if she is going to show up when we need her super early, we aren’t worried about getting home late from work. She’s already here with us. My husband is an airline pilot, having Liss has allowed him to be able to bid his schedule around the family, not the family and a nanny. Additionally, we have been able to do so much more as a family with Liss being her with us. Knowing you have someone to help with the little one makes doing things less daunting. We go out and have more fun as a family with her here.
What has surprised me most is how much I have grown to love Liss.
She is truly part of our family now. When she first came here, she was someone to help with our daughter and make our lives a little easier. The gifts she has given us have been beyond anything we could have imagined. Over the last year, we have learned a lot about her country. For Spring Break, we went home with her to meet her family and experience her culture. Her mom spent many hours teaching us how to cook traditional foods. This was an added treat as we have been able to bring them home and share them with our friends, family and even other Au Pairs.
Liss has become another “responsible” daughter to my husband and me. She has become a best friend/sister to our older daughter and our youngest daughter calls her the “bestest sister.” The relationship they have is beyond sweet.
Liss will forever be part of our family and the memories that she has given us have blown us away. We only wish we would’ve thought to get an Au Pair years before.