Because my parents both work full time and have four children (all one year apart), we had live-in nannies (au pairs) for many years when we were younger. Also, it was important to my mom that we could speak Spanish fluently. She had actually wanted us to also speak Mandarin, but after several years of lessons, we all decided that was not happening haha!
All of our au pairs were from Colombia, South America, and only spoke to us in Spanish, so my siblings and I grew up bilingual. July was my au pair from the age of 4-6. She is a petite 5 ft, beautiful woman inside and out with an incredibly strong Christian faith. July has this intangible joy, it’s a stronger, more consistent, and more intense feeling than just happiness. One smile from July can light up a room, and she makes everyone around her feel loved and safe.
She was 24 years old when she came to the United States to live with us for the first time. Immediately, my family fell in love with her. July would take us to the playground every day after school and had us outside playing games every day. She was super interactive with us and always present and undistracted. In kindergarten, she would often get me dressed in my uniform while I was still sleeping, so that I could enjoy fifteen more minutes of rest (mornings have never been my friend). She is a kind, patient, and very playful person that truly lives to serve others.
We were all heartbroken after two years when July had to return to Colombia. Soon after, July was married and moved to Mexico with her husband. And, over the years, we kept in touch as much as we could.
Four years later, she came back to visit with her two-year-old daughter, Mia. They stayed with us for six months, and her son Benjamin was born during this time. Mia and Benji became part of our family, and we love them dearly.
Since then, July visits about every two or three years. When she heard that my health was declining and Millie would be away for the summer, she arranged child care for her own children and came to live with us for the summer.
July arrived at our house on my 18th birthday (May 24th) and is staying with us through August. While she is here, her children Mia and Benji are staying with their grandparents in Mexico for the summer. It is such a love gift that she is here. She is an amazing mother and adores her children and husband, but has put her life on pause to demonstrate that my family and I are important to her too. She took care of me when I was a child and now she is taking care of me daily again (as a young adult!).
During the weekdays, July prepares all of my medicines 4x daily, refills formula, changes my feeding bags, brings me ice, starts my oxygen, helps me with physical therapy exercises, gets the bedpan for me, and keeps an inventory of all of my medical supplies.
During the daytime, she makes it possible for me to brush my teeth, wash my face, set up fluids and feeds, and have a good daily routine. One of her dreams is to become a nurse, and her dedication, empathy, and rapid learning would make her such an amazing nurse! I can’t express enough how much I love July and how grateful I am for her. Because of her sacrifice, my parents are both able to continue their full-time jobs (which they really enjoy) and my siblings are able to continue to play tennis and have some free time. Without her care this summer, my life would look a lot different.
It is interesting to me that the people who seem to be happiest in life and have this internal unmanufactured-like joy are those who serve others and have some degree of selflessness to the point of personal sacrifice. July is one of those people, and I strive to be more like her.