Sophie is the best friend that you have always wanted but never really had in your life. That’s the most genuine way to describe this incredible woman. I have never met someone who has faced so much adversity in her life and still had such a positive attitude. But before I begin on why she has been our little angel sent in our time of need, let me first begin by telling you a little bit about her.
On the outside, Sophie is as elegant as any human can possibly be. She is always well dressed, prim and proper, and much like her home country of England, she is the epitome of Miss Manners. Having said that, you wouldn’t know that she is a cancer survivor. That she has faced death and stared her down until she got her life back and she didn’t stop until she made her dream of coming to the US to be an au pair come true. It wasn’t as if she just checked a box. Oh no! She was determined to make this dream come true in technicolor! Before she came to me for just 6 months, she had been with two other host families and it was as if both of us were looking for a guiding light. In fact, I met Sophie through a phone conversation about the funny and horrible ways that life throws us into chaos. Both of her previous host families no longer needed the au pair program and I was coming off an 8 week stretch of no childcare when my au pair had accepted a job in Europe in the middle of our hosting year. And while I was happy for au pair number 4, I was the conductor of the crazy train for far too long but wasn’t desperate enough to just pick anyone! That’s when I met Sophie!
When I first spoke to her, I was trying my hardest not to all of a sudden start speaking with a British accent. I was nervous and overwhelmed and hiding in my pantry just so she wouldn’t be scared off by all of the noise. I was hopeful that she could be a great fit for us and honestly, I was just grateful to talk to an adult or not have to read Charlotte’s Web for the hundredth time. After that first hilarious conversation, I called her again the next day with all of the children, and we picked her. That’s right. One conversation in the pantry and I knew that she belonged with our band of misfit fighters – inspiration seeking – crazy vegetarian family! It also happened to be her Birthday! Double bonus! (not for her maybe, but definitely for us!)
And so our love story began, two people a little nervous about having let go of another au pair/host family and so looking forward to having a wonderful term together. And that is exactly what happened. She had no time to prepare and when she arrived just 2 days later, we had already booked her on our family vacation to Las Vegas and the Grand Canyon for the following week. She walked for hours and got to know us as we tried to do our best on 4 hour long car rides and “vacation crazy” with the kiddos. But her colors and talents shone through as she took them to the pool and played putt putt in the afternoon. She watched ridiculous movies and pretended to love them. She accepted each horrible drawing as if it were a Picasso with so much love and appreciation, it was hard to believe that it was anything but.
Sophie was a breath of fresh air for our family and she allowed the children to expand their creativity. They were able to get dirty with mud and make potions with leaves and sticks. She spent an entire summer at the pool in the mornings, and taught them how to bowl when it was too hot in the afternoon. She built up their confidence and let them climb into her lap when they were tired. She made sure to take a moment every day and let each child know what made them special and unique.
She left little cards all over the house for me to find and always did small things that would go the extra mile, the extra run to the store, or post office, before I even knew we were out of something! She is my best friend, the one you lean on when you need someone the most. And best of all, she surprised the kids this Christmas when she came “home” to spend it with all of us! If you are ever lost and need to be found, look no further than Sophie Stanford.
Monday, 14 January 2019 5:01 PM