Anyone who has lost a child has issues surrounding his or her death. It may be things they said or didn’t say. It could be the timing of things, if they had only visited, if they had not let them drive, if they would have called. These things change you; sometimes they change you more than the actual death of your child. They can eat you up and spit you out until you are barely recognizable. The guilt, regret, and frustration with the “what ifs” are toxic in every way. I try not to let myself dwell there; if I did I would most definitely go crazy. No matter how hard I try though, it’s changed me.
It has changed the way I raise Crue and the way I feel about others, but mostly it has changed the level of trust I have when it comes to who watches him. My trust issues are insane. I wouldn’t even refer to them as issues as much as my trust is non-existent. Todd and I basically do nothing together. We do things separate so one of us can stay home with Crue. Although this is very hard on our marriage, to us, it’s the only way. We can count on one hand the people who we trust with Crue. Even then we need texts, phone calls, and pictures the whole time we are gone. In some ways it’s good: it’s made me more cautious and more assertive with the things I expect when he is in someone’s care. On the other hand, it’s completely out of my character. I’m an extremely trusting person. I feel I have a good judge of character and can make decisions based mainly on my gut. That was before Nash died. Nash’s death taught me that my gut isn’t enough; that I cannot assume anything, even the small seemingly insignificant things.
My family had promised Todd and I they would do whatever it took to watch Crue until he was one. Until he was officially past the scary times and was ready to be in a day care situation. What I heard, however, was that I had one year to figure out how to stay home with him. To Todd and me, there is no day or time when he will be past the so-called scary age. Our fears with others and their ability to keep Crue safe are legitimate struggles for both of us. I knew I couldn’t financially stay home unless my life drastically changed so as Crue got closer to one, I started asking around. I wanted him to be the only child in someone’s care or at the most one of three. Ideally it would be nice if someone came to our home but we couldn’t afford the price of an in-home nanny. Making those calls reminded me of the frantic calls I made to daycares trying to find someone for Nash. The whole process was making me nauseous. One lady was all on board but once she found out about Nash’s passing she felt uncomfortable watching Crue. Another daycare told me they don’t take children under the age of two because of the baby that died in Fenton a couple of years ago….that one was hard to swallow. I cried most nights leading up to his birthday. On one hand I was happy he was to that so-called “safe” age; on the other, I was about to face my biggest fear and didn’t know if I could.
Our prayers were answered with one word: Savanna. When my sister-in-law told me her 20-year-old niece was hinting that she needed a summer job and wanted to watch Crue, I was skeptical. I have known Savanna for years and I know she is a great girl….but my fear outweighed my gut. A 20-year-old girl watching Crue? Would she understand how serious this is, how scary this is for us? Could we make this giant leap and trust someone out of our comfort zone? It came down to an in-home nanny we couldn’t afford, staying home, or Savanna. We decided to at least talk to savanna and we quickly knew that this was also scary for her. Savanna is practically family. She met Nash, she saw what Todd and I went through when we lost him, she sports a team Nash sticker on her car and a have a Nash day bracelet on her wrist. I knew she got it….Although she was nervous about watching him she was more nervous about someone else watching him. When she said those words my eyes filled with tears and I knew instantly she was perfect. To think grown adults wouldn’t do it out of fear and Savanna was willing to try says a lot about her character.
To say Crue was spoiled these last three months is the understatement of the century! Savanna holds him nonstop, doesn’t allow him to cry ever, cuts his food so small a bird couldn’t choke on it and, most importantly, never lets him sleep alone. We also get hourly texts and picture updates. I have grown so comfortable with Savanna watching him that I trust her more than almost anyone else. To have someone who you not only trust wholeheartedly but also loves your child is a feeling I can’t put into words and I think some take for granted. Crue excitedly runs to her as she opens the door and has the saddest face as he waves goodbye when she drives away. He sweetly calls her “Nana” and when I announce she is at our home the smile it puts on his face warms my heart. Nana was one of his first words even, and he says it now even more than Momma. If people would have told me not only would I find someone to watch Crue but that I would love and trust her wholeheartedly….I would not have believed them. Savanna has done so much more than take care of Crue, kept him safe, and loved him; she has broken down some of the walls Todd and I have built. She has shown us that there are trustworthy people in this world and that we can enjoy our life knowing he is in good hands. That someone who is not related to your child can love them as if they are. As our time with Savanna is coming to an end as she heads back to college, I find myself unbelievably thankful….thankful for the peace of mind she has given me and this three months of normalcy I haven’t had in my life in a long time. I was able to go to work and leave my child in the care of someone else. Not only did he stay safe but he fell in love and so did we. To us, Savanna will always be family! we are forever indebted to her and she will always have a special place in our hearts and also in Crue’s. Savanna, Thank you for being you and for taking on a challenge grown adults were intimidated by. You did an amazing job taking care of him and at the same time restored so much of our faith in other people. I know it must have been a scary decision for you but you never backed down. I’m glad we can all look back and say WE MADE IT!!!!!! We love you Nana❤️