We love celebrating our au pairs here at AuPairCare. Every year we hold an Ultimate Au Pair Contest that celebrates participants who embody the spirit of the au pair cultural change program, and we are happy to announce this year's contest winner! The Kimble family from Fort Collins, Colorado submitted a moving entry about how their au pair has truly become a part of their family during these unprecedented times. Read their entry on behalf of au pair Antonia from Chile!
Why do you have the Ultimate Au Pair?
Antonia is the Ultimate Au pair because she embodies all the qualities a family could ask for in an au pair. It takes a very strong young lady to take on a job 5,500 miles away from her country, family, and friends during a pandemic. She demonstrates the type of faith and strength I hope for my two young girls (ages 3 & 18M). Antonia has been the ultimate lifesaver this year. People talk about essential workers as heroes and highlight them as critical to the world we live in, but behind those heroes are the less advertised sidekicks protecting, nurturing, and fueling their livelihoods. Antonia has not only allowed us to not miss a day of work but has given us the mental resiliency by knowing that our kids are safe and still maximizing their full potential. We never take for granted the adorable photo she sends while we are gone for work. Her flexibility, dependability, and generosity has strengthened my family through the obstacles life has thrown our way. Since arriving to our home, she has done her best each day. She has made every effort to be a part of our family. She has taken the hard moments and created great ones. She has given all of herself caring for my children and helping us run a smooth household. She is there in the moments we cannot be with her arms wide open. This year was not full of Instagram worthy experiences, often staying home due to state shutdowns and closures. We did the best we could, but she deserves the chance to stand on that mountain top or lay on that beach and feel rewarded for all the love and culture she has brought to our family.
What special moments can you share?
Antonia came to us when we needed her the most. My husband works for the local fire department, and I am an emergency room nurse. Like many families, we found ourselves in a difficult situation trying to make the best decision for childcare during this unprecedented time. We have had no time to slow down for the world's drastic changes. We found ourselves needing a new au pair in early summer. After matching with a great candidate, right before making final preparations for her to start, a travel ban was enacted which required us to find a new candidate. Hard-pressed to find an au pair due to the impacts of the travel restrictions, and after countless interviews just as we were about to give up hope of finding anyone to fit our family in a short time frame, we were going to stop looking altogether and making plans for other means of childcare. On our last interview before giving up, we found Antonia. Antonia has made every effort to join our family during important times such as family dinners, camping trips, and celebrations. She even volunteers at our daughter's preschool to help with projects and fundraisers. Antonia has stepped up to do so many of the litter extra things like decorating for the holidays. Mid-October, after a long work week, we came home to a spooky front porch display Antonia put together on her own. She designed and put up an amazing Halloween display with the "help" of our 3-year-old. Ultimately, Antonia knows that the engagement and love that our girls have for her does not stop outside of 8-5. She always welcomes them with open arms. There is hardly ever a night that my 3-year-old does not run over to Antonia's bedroom door, politely knock, and wait to hug and kiss her goodnight before hopping into bed. Through her maturity, Antonia has been responsibly socializing with other au pairs and their host kids. Her personality has attracted several friends and she has even introduced us to other host families.
What positive influence has your au pair had on your children and family?
On Chilean Independence Day she collaborated with another host family's au pair to make traditional dishes and bring us all together at the table. She even dressed our girls in the Chilean national colors. It was a cultural experience for everyone, and we enjoyed every delicious bite. As the parents of two young girls, we rarely feel like we have it all together. Our family moved to a new city just months before word of a pandemic. It was not until Antonia came into our home that life began to feel like it was moving forward again. She, like any caregiver, is not the "ultimate" for one huge act, but a million tiny acts of selfless love she pours into all aspects of her life. She is the Ultimate Au Pair for the way she invests in our children, family, friends, and the community. She wakes up each day to do her best. 2020 has been a year of the unpredictable. We had to go weeks without running water due to a main waterline break. Then, shortly after that had another water leak which required a complete demo and remodel of her bathroom. Antonia never once complained and took everything in stride. Antonia's adaptability, maturity, and positivity have been incredibly reassuring during the most hectic and erratic year we have ever experienced. She has overcome these challenges alongside us and continues to love and help support our family. She is the Ultimate Au Pair. She embodies everything I would want in a close friend, caregiver, and young lady. She deserves to win because she has much more to give and gain out of this experience and selfishly, we will not be ready to see her go.