You know how every once in a while you’ll get change at the gas station or grocery store and quickly stuff it into your coat pocket? More often than not you remember to fish it out once you get home. But every once in a while you forget it’s there…and the coats go away into storage in favor of summer clothes and months go by before the first frost of a new winter when you dig the jackets out from the back of your closet. And then it takes a few days before chance and circumstance happen to drive your hands into your coat for warmth and Hey! there’s a $20 I forgot I had! You know the feeling I’m talking about?

That’s kind of what I felt when I stumbled upon this piece in an old file on my hard drive…except I can’t put this story towards rent.


April 2006

A 13 year old could do my job. Well, one of my jobs at least. Upon completion of my masters degree, I dove headfirst into the real world, eager to find gainful employment in my field of choice. In hindsight, it might have been a good idea to choose a field before seeking said employment. But since I am only 25 and as able to make permanent decisions about my future as I am likely to remember to change the oil in my car, I had to resign myself with whatever I could find to make ends meet. Luckily this task was partially covered by my job as a youth pastor. Now as we all know, ministry is terribly lucrative. You know, will of God, Prayer of Jabez, and all that. Be that as it may, I concluded I would need additional income to support my presently extravagant lifestyle of student loan repayment and ramen noodles. This being so decided, I reluctantly joined the ranks of countless young girls who dream of earning extra cash to buy lip-gloss and Pussycat Dolls CDs: I am a nanny.

And yes, I am aware of the silliness that occurs when you place my name and job title next to each other. Try to stay with me.

One of the benefits of being a nanny, apart from the free ice cream and Chex-Mix, is getting to mess with young minds. The particular family I work for has two such intellects ripe for confusion. The older sibling, a precocious (ok, spoiled) nine year old believes me to be the most beautiful, intelligent, and funny young woman she’s ever met. Clearly, she is very bright. Her brother, being only recently turned seven, is more easily turned by my powers of persuasion. A few weeks ago, over green apple slices and gobs of peanut butter, my young friend asked, “Hey, you know what?”

I love this question because there are a number of ways you could go. One option is to turn it back around with a decided, “Yes, but do YOU know what?” Another is to state various things you do in fact have knowledge of, like the temperature at which water freezes, the distance from the earth to the moon, the number of licks it takes to get to the Tootsie Roll center of a Tootsie Pop… On this particular afternoon, I took a slightly different approach.

“Of course,” I said, answering quickly. “I know everything.”

“Come on!”

“Its true.” I nodded my head.

He wrinkled his nose. “Not everything.”

“Yep. Everything.”

At this point in our conversation, the wrinkles on his nose staged a coup and completely overtook the rest of his normally cheery face. Disappointed to the point of extreme agitation that he would not be able to share what he learned in school that day, he looked at me pleadingly through his now-squinty eyes and begged, “Well then can I just tell you anyway?” I agreed that he could.

It’s true a 13 year old might be able to do my job. She could make lunch, help with homework, fold laundry and clean dishes. She might even be able to do a mean lip-sync to Beauty and the Beast’s “Be Our Guest” (though I’d be willing to bet mine is better). But could she ever achieve omniscience? I think not.