I can’t sleep tonight; something a little strange, partly sad and a bit scary happened to me this evening. I am a part-time Nanny for a young family which requires me to pick up the kids from school and daycare, take them home and sometimes feed and bathe them before the parents get home from work.
Today, I just had one kid to look after, an 18 month old boy who isn’t too fond of new people, he’s really shy and ‘scared’ in a way by people he doesn’t know. I’ve been working with them for a few months now so he’s fairly happy with me which is good. Anyway, we got home, as usual and when I first started working for them I always locked the door when I got home, but then the mum sometimes forgot her keys and I wouldn’t hear her knocking, and I just felt really bad that I had essentially locked her out, gah. So I grew accustomed to not locking the door – well, that’s certainly going to change from now on. Today, I almost locked the door, but I didn’t, and I wish that I did.
About 30 mins after being home, I was feeding little C some dinner, and I heard the door open and some footsteps in the hall. I assumed (as one does) that it was just the father coming home as he sometimes likes to sneak in then pop his head around the corner and surprise the kids. (The mum and other child are currently away.) Anyway, I was getting little C excited that his dad was about to come around the corner. Until, the person shuffling that was their feet through the house, popped around the corner, was a total stranger. I shit myself – and 6 hours later, just thinking about it I’m still shaking and now I can’t sleep. The ‘stranger’ was an elderly man who appeared to be a bit lost and confused, he told me he used to live in that house some years back. Me, being in total shock and not knowing what the fuck to do in this situation (because I also felt sorry for him if he had dementia or something), but for little C’s safety – who had started crying by the shock of a) a stranger and b) not his father who he was excited for it to be – I asked the man a few questions and hurriedly tried to get him out of the house. He left without any objections, and I really do believe he was completely harmless, just a poor old man who had lost his way a bit.
But what is upsetting me the most right now, is the fact that it could have been anyone who waltzed through that door. And I mean ANYONE, A.N.Y.O.N.E. I don’t like to think of the bad things or jump to negative conclusions, but I am just so lucky that it wasn’t anyone dangerous or aggressive, as I had a little child’s life literally in my hands, in my responsibility. This evening could have gone a lot worse than it did, and I’m grateful that it was so drama free, but I just feel terrible and that I was so stupid to not lock the door. ESPECIALLY when my instinct was a to lock it as soon as I got home.
The father was fine about it and he didn’t blame me at all, but right now I’m really feeling like I am to blame. If only I had listened to my gut when I shut the door behind me, it wouldn’t have happened. BUT, in saying that, like I said, nothing bad did happen. So I have to be thankful for that. And the lesson that it has now taught me.
I’m also just glad that little C is too young to remember what just happened, because he was well and truly frightened and upset tonight, because it’s my job and responsibility to make sure the children are fine and safe in my care, and I feel like I failed at that tonight.
So, to the W family, little C, and to the lost old man, I’m truly sorry.