Memories of a Nanny: Montana 2010 Day 1

My name is Lauren Brent. I’m 22 years old and I’ve been a nanny for about three years now. I’m writing this collection of memories not because I feel people will want or need to read them, but so I may capture as accurately as possible the things I experienced. In three years I’ve learned two very important truths: Memories are as precious as the children that help create them, and they pass by too quickly to remember them all.

The memories recorded here range from the amusing, to the touching, to the aggravating, and so on, but each one is extremely special, and thus in need of being recorded. I will do my very best to accurately describe each event, but as I said these memories move too quickly to remember them all.

If you are inclined to read what I’ve written here, feel free to do so, and I hope you enjoy it.


Friday, June 18 2010 (Montana Day 1)

I’m not a stranger to long car rides. So many summers when I was a child were spent getting up early (or late) and driving the 11 hours between Sacramento, California and Laughlin, Nevada1. The idea of driving the eight or so hours from Merced to Oregon (I wouldn’t learn until later that our destination was a gorgeous town known as Grant’s Pass) wasn’t daunting in the slightest. Regardless, I got little to no sleep the night before; certain variables made it so I didn’t start packing until late Thursday evening. It didn’t matter, though. I was going to a place I had never been before, I was going on my first real road trip in 3 years, and I was going with people I loved and cared about as if they were my own family. Needless to say, the mixture of excitement and nerves made it so I didn’t need to sleep2. I was quite nervous about packing for a ten day excursion, so the fact that I made it out the door with everything but my flip flops was nothing short of a miracle.

I left my house around 11 am, and spent the afternoon with the Westlunds. It was fun seeing her children excited about the trip. I don’t recall exactly, but I’m pretty certain I wasn’t quite as young as them when I went on my first road trip. Still, it reminded me of how excited I would get when I was younger. I remembered how my mother would put the snack bag together (to this day I don’t know how she did it with us constantly running around her legs like stupid excited dogs), how we’d pile our stuff by the front door (for some reason I remember pillows the most), and how each of us kids would go to the bathroom about 15 times before we actually left. This never prevented us from needing to go 30 minutes down the road, but that’s life.

It was 5PM when everyone was loaded and we hit the road. I had the pleasure of sitting behind Andersen for the first leg of the trip and thus was forced to stare at his adorable face the entire way. I wasn’t about to complain. For a car full of children who had never been on a trip that long before, it was actually quite nice. A few of the kids were rather persistent at not falling asleep (Bria had taken a nap before we left and wasn’t about to be put to sleep again), but it wasn’t too bad.

I’m not entirely sure how long that first leg lasted. We drove until we reached Straw Hat Pizza. For whatever reason, the only thing I remember about this pit stop is the spider I saw when we were leaving. Spiders - for reasons I couldn’t explain if you asked me to – fascinate me. This one was no exception. In fact, it was probably the most interesting spider I’d ever seen. It was easily the size of my palm (the size of my hands aside, that’s still a pretty large spider) and was a sort of sandy tan color. The legs were so long, and seemed almost transparent. And it was so fast! I stood for a good 3-4 minutes just watching it crawl around on the wall. I wasn’t even entirely sure I was actually seeing it.

I switched cars when we left Straw Hat Pizza. The sun had set by then, so the car was dark and quiet, and the fact that I had little to no sleep the night before and only snatched a 30 minute nap in the van made me consider sleeping.

But at the same time, I didn’t want to sleep. So when we stopped at the gas station, I got a cappuccino, thinking it would keep me awake.

That ended up being a bad idea. I started drinking it and it was so hot, and it made my stomach warm and comfy and I remember I was really cold. For a while, there was just a battle going on, and I wasn’t entirely sure who would win: the warm comfyness or the sugar and caffiene.

The warm comfyness won out. I awoke a couple hours later when the car pulled over to switch drivers. It was impossibly dark then, the car headlights the only real light.

I distinctly remember when we passed into Oregon, however. It was dark, but I saw the sign go by. And it was funny. I couldn’t see anything, but I was in Oregon for the first time in my life, so I was still excited. I was alert, more willing to sing with the songs on the radio and everything I saw was somehow so exciting. It wasn’t the first time I had seen dark hillsides peppered with lights of different colors and brightness, but something about it being a new hillside, an Oregon hillside, was absolutely enthralling.

I remember the mood of the car was very lively, and I recall a discussion on the revival of theater. The fact that we all were (or seemed) wide awake made it hard to believe it was almost 2am. No one would have known we had been on the road since 5 the day prior. I don’t remember how involved I was in the conversation, though I know I was involved at least a little bit. I divided my time between the conversation and the dark, intriguing world we were driving through. Sometimes I would add to the conversation, others I would simply be looking out the window.

That’s what I was doing when a comment from Amy snapped me back to reality. I don’t know the exact wording, but I think it was something along the lines of, “Did they just exit and we didn’t?” She was referring to the van, which we were following. And she was right. We had to drive a good ways down the highway before we could find an exit and turn around, and I remember us laughing a good deal. When we reached our destination, there was more laughing when we found out that the van had tried to signal us in every way it could that it was exiting, and we just didn’t see it. We were too involved in the conversation. I’m pretty sure Amy was teased about it for at least a few days.

We arrived at Grant’s Pass at around 3AM and unloaded only what we needed before scattering throughout the house and catching as much sleep as we could. We had a 7am wake up call, and a big day ahead of us. I went to sleep in those early morning hours completely oblivious to the beauty I was going to awaken to.

Had I known, however, I don’t think I would have been able to sleep at all.

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Kay said...

I can't wait to read more!! Thanks, Lauren!