This post was written for Jeff Shattuck who noticed just how quiet I had been about the au pair and pinged me several times to spill it. Here's the update:
We said goodbye to the au pair yesterday. I know, big shocker. She's home in Germany by now, reunited with her first true love, a soon-to-be-19-year-old German boy who wants to become a police officer.
I was onto her broken heart immediately. I was concerned and not quite sure how to play it with her since we had little trust established between us and these conversations require great delicacy. We had a couple of "talks" and a couple of, "let's make this work" conversations but I could tell in her bones that she needed to get home, and fast.
Which turned out to be a bit of an inconvenience since it is campaign season and the whole reason I sought live in help was so that I had another set of hands around here ... Instead, I had another project.
I was naive. I held out hope that we could work this out. In fact, I wondered more than once about her motivation in coming to America in the first place. I had a theory that the reason she travelled so far away in the first place was because she wanted to grow, to spread her wings a bit. Not settle down at 19. But now I'll never know for sure.
The kids were really sad about what happened with the au pair. It confused them and they felt responsible for her grief. There wasn't any laughter or arts and crafts. No smiles. In the end she wept at breakfast, avoided us at night, and slept for hours and hours. She had a bad, bad case of the blues, which, I imagine, will take a long time to reconcile once she is home.
In an odd way, this experience has helped me gain some insight into young love: 19-year-old-heartache can literally claim your soul. I'm glad she'll be home with her mom and boyfriend soon. Love needs room -- and its own language -- when it is so young and tender. We wish her the best as we hold a piece of her heart here.