What I’m thankful for this year

When folks ask how the child-minding situation in my family is coming along, Aunty Susan comes to mind…  And I’m not exaggerating when I say that she’s the best thing that happened to us this year. 

It wasn’t easy for us to take the plunge towards hiring a helper, but once there was a possibility of hiring Aunty Susan in Feb this year, our hearts were more than at rest.  Aunty Susan worked for my hubby’s family for 13 years, and has known him since he was 10 (!!!).  They kept in touch even after she stopped working for them. In fact, on our wedding day, she was in the front row of our church wedding photo with the extended family.  ‘Nuff said, huh?  Nothing quite beats having a helper that you can trust from day 1. We are indeed so, so, blessed.

We really appreciate how she pre-empts our needs, and works so hard to keen our home clean and put yummy home-cooked meals on our table, relates so well to the kids such that they got used to her really quickly… She has higher standards of cleanliness than us (oops) and doesn’t slack even when we tell her she really doesn’t need to do certain things.  We are okay if sometimes mistakes are made, since we aren’t perfect ourselves by far!

Since we couldn’t afford to match her ‘expat pay’, we try to make up for it by treating her extra nicely (and she doesn’t take advantage of that), and by giving her every Sunday and all public holidays off, since we trust her to be sensible in her choice of friends.  And in any case, on such days, both the hubs and I don’t work, so we figured we should take on the main caregiver roles wholly anyway.

We pay her more than the average helper, which she totally deserves, given her years of experience, and hope to make up for her paycut (as compared to what her previous expat employer paid) in part through a 13th month bonus. 

We try to treat her as well as her former expatriate employers did (and boy were they star employers, granting autonomy and benefits galore)… perhaps in some ways she’s more of a family member with us than with them, since she’s known the extended family for so long, and we chat about how my sisters-in-law were like in their growing up years, how other extended family members are doing… 

I really enjoy chatting with her, and relate to her like an aunt.  I can talk to her about my family, as she shares about her friends, her kids… I am so thankful that she’s patient with my parents, who can be quirky (and that’s putting it nicely).  We are blessed that Aunty Susan has an even temperament, yet does not hestitate to speak up whenever necessary to set the record straight.  Which I deem an asset.

Whilst I know that many friends have severe trials with their helpers, I have friends who have gems of helpers too.  One actually told me that her helper exhibits such a servant-heart, that she was inspired to serve her own family more.  Wow – impressive.  Challenges me to consider that view too.

Aunty Susan has helped so much in the caregiving of my children, and our relationship is as good as I could have ever prayed for. Knowing that there’s someone reliable at home gives peace of mind that money really can’t buy.  So for this, we are thankful.
Birthday present I made for Aunty Susan – a scrapbooked frame to show our appreciation

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