Dear Future Stella,
I went back to work when you were 11 weeks old. I did this for many reasons. No bullshit, the main reasons were financial. Our family relied on my income and my job as a hair colorist is unforgiving to long absences (If I’m not there to cover their grey, someone else will gladly do it). I also wanted to go back because Im one of those weirdos who genuinely love my job and it satisfies me. Another huge reason is that I really don’t like temporary anything, I like consistent routine. Being on maternity leave was a tease and I didn’t want to get too used to that life because I knew I would be heading back to work so I just wanted to “rip the band aid off” and do it already.
The hardest part was clearly finding someone to care for you while I was at work. Your dad and I have always been fortunate with our jobs in the sense that we work fairly reasonable hours and we have only about 13 hours a week of overlap where we are both working. That’s pretty damn amazing considering we both work full time. Finding a qualified loving nanny for only 13 hours a week is much like finding a vegetable that Current Stella will eat- it’s REALLY hard!
We found Cynthia, who met you for the first time when you were 7 weeks old. We interviewed her at a Starbucks and she just had this nurturing way about her that made me feel a bit inadequate, but relieved at the same time. During one of our questions to her you started fussing in your bassinet. Cynthia just picked you right up and started soothing you, while answering the question. It was quite impressive. Anyway, we basically hired Cynthia on the spot.
Cynthia was with our family for 3 years, those same pathetic 13 hours a week, year after year. She started out at 15 dollars per hour and then we gave her a raise each year. I would have given her double if we could have afforded it. She really was a Godsend. She spoke Spanish to you, left our house spotless, and formed this bond with you that I hope you never forget.
Cynthia got married, then pregnant, and decided to move to start a family of her own. We were truly devastated, as I had pictured her being with our family until the day you went off to college. Im really not joking, that is how much she became a part of our family.
Finding a replacement for Cynthia was painful and almost impossible. Talk about enormous shoes to fill! To spare you the crazy long details, we did eventually find 2 people to replace her, Holli and Mariah. The two of them split the hours and they were both a total blessing in disguise. As much as I missed, and will always miss Cynthia, those two young girls were able to play with and challenge a 3 year old girl. My house wasn’t always the cleanest, and your Spanish definitely went to shit, but these girls PLAYED with you like I have never seen before. They took an interest in your development, and spent a lot of time just giving you the undivided attention that an only child would typically get if they were in any other family but ours! It sounds strange to call it a friendship, but thats really the best way to label what it was that you guys had. You enjoyed their company so much and would looked forward to showing them things and they arrived each week with new ideas of fun things you guys could do together.
Sadly, Holli’s last day was today. She decided to make a life change and move back in with her parents in Southern California. Its going to be fine because Mariah has committed to taking all the hours so we won’t have to find another new person, BUT I am really sad to see her go. She did really fun things with you all of the time. Holli would take you to Chuck E. Cheeses. Who, besides an absolute angel/lunatic, would take anyone there? Seriously, Future Stella, that place better not still exist. Its nasty. Holli would take you to the library and the park and even just plain old Target. From the moment she got here until the moment she left she would just play with you. You adored her so much. Sometimes I would be lucky enough to come home early and get to witness your relationship with her. It was always reassuring to see first hand that while I was at work, you were having the time of your life.
Future Stella, I love you. Current Stella, you told Holli that you love the way she always brings you so much love and that she taught you how to make butterfly shadows and draw butterflies. You told her that your favorite thing she does is cook you dinner because it always tastes yummy. What. The. Fuck? I cook for you most nights. I make meals from scratch and spend a useless amount of time preparing meals that you instantly refuse. What does Holli make you for dinner that is so “yummy?” She basically reheats the dinners that I have made and that you won’t eat. Not cool Current Stella, not cool.