This is a question several of you have asked regarding Samantha (Sam), who does indeed live in our front room. I have hesitated to say too much about her because it's so completely atypical of a live-in nanny situation, plus I haven't known how much to share about her personal life; like, why can she just up and leave her job and life in Michigan to come join us here in Texas and take care of babies? It's a bit complicated and very sad. To try and explain as briefly as possible: She has been a member of our same mission organization with the desire to do linguistics overseas, but just when she was trying to raise her monthly support the economy in Michigan was tanking thanks to the downward spiral in the car industry at the time. So she eventually let go of that dream. She became a nursing assistant and phlebotomist at the University of Michigan hospital and fell in love with a guy named Teddy (named after a hockey player!) who happened to have cystic fibrosis. Teddy was very healthy when they met and dated and got engaged, thanks to a lung transplant a few years earlier. However, in July of this past year his health plummeted, he ended up back on the transplant list for another set of lungs, and he died of an infection before that could ever happen. That was on December 16th. Sam decided after much prayer that part of her healing from this awful grief needed to include getting away from her life there in Ann Arbor and Michigan. So even though she LOVES Teddy's family and her own more than life itself, not to mention misses her friends very much, she felt the Lord leading her to Texas to work with the quintuplets for whom she had been praying all those months and whose parents also served with the organization of which she too had previously been a member. What's even more "cool" (in a really hard way) is that Teddy had a g-tube like Seth and was on oxygen like Seth, so Sam had a ton of personal experience she could put to use in helping us care for Seth at home.
Sam is still grieving and still healing and can definitely use your prayers. I can't believe it's been only a little over three months since Teddy went to be with the Lord and she is functioning as fabulously as she is! Despite the wearing load of sorrow and just plain ol' missing him - not to mention living with five very active 4 month olds! - she does superb nanny work (just not in the morning if she can help it, but she'll do the odd overnight, God bless her!). She mostly ends up working at night or filling in for volunteers who can't make it in the afternoon. She, too, gets weary of the babies and maxes out after several hours, so she is not "full time" meaning 24 hours, 7 days a week, she's "full time" in that she averages a 40-hour week. Some weeks much of that time is not at the house because she is also my go-to for everything doctor-related, something Gavin really appreciates as it allows him to work for our organization during the day with fewer interruptions. It takes two people to get Seth to appointments, thanks to the vomiting, oxygen, feeding apparatus, etc. One of us has to ride in the back with him. It takes two people to take three or four of the other kids to their appointments. This week we have 4 doctor appointments! It's very rare to have a week without any. Most week we have at least 2. All this to say, Samantha's presence and joyful spirit (despite deep sadness) have been a huge blessing!
Another thing about Sam as our live-in nanny that is VERY atypical is how much we pay her. Basically, we pay her nothing. We give her a small stipend that pays for car insurance, her cell phone bill, gas for her car, etc. out of the "nanny fund" we set up all those months ago. Thank you to the generous folks who gave us a total of about $3000; not enough for a typical nanny for more than a month or two, but a HUGE help in allowing us to meet Sam's monthly needs!
So that's the answer to the question "Who is the girl in the front room?" And it wasn't very short or concise after all, because I am the one writing the post, not Gavin. :) Thanks for praying for her!
|Bathing David, who has a MAJOR crush on Samantha!!!|