“There is something you should understand about the way I work. When you need me but do not want me, then I must stay. When you want me but no longer need me, then I have to go. It’s rather sad, really, but there it is.” – Nanny McPhee
If you haven’t seen the movie “Nanny McPhee,” you really should watch it. It is one of my favorite “kids” movie. Nanny McPhee is a magical nanny who comes into the lives of the Brown family when they desperately need her. The mother dies, leaving a very stressed and overworked father to care for 7 “very clever and very naughty” children. An aunt threatens to take away the family fortune if the father does not marry and provide a new mother for the children which forces him to court a rather ugly and brutish hag of a woman. The Brown family is in chaos. No direction or hope. Life is burdensome and hard for them. But then Nanny McPhee enters their story and here is why I like her.
She cares about the family. The kids are astonished that she knows their names on the first day of meeting her. No nanny before took the time to know the kids or even their names. Nanny McPhee truly cares for the Brown family and becomes one of them. She evens gets to know the eccentric cook and the maid. The entire family is of her concern and she serves the family with love, compassion and mercy.
By the end of the movie, we are sad to see Nanny McPhee leave the Brown family. We do not want her to go, but rather want her to stay and to remain a part of this fairy tale ending. That’s the beauty of this movie for me. I want Nanny McPhee to see the kids grow up and find their own spouses. I want her to stay and continue to be friends with the crazy cook and help the newly wedded couple grow in their marriage and as a family. I want to ignore her words in the beginning of the movie about her having to leave someday. But I know she has to leave. Somewhere, there is another family in chaos. Another set of children who need to be loved and nurtured and taught how to behave themselves. The Brown family doesn’t need her anymore and I don’t like that.
Sometimes there are people who come along in our life who mentor us, teach us, love us, walk with us, encourage us and bring worth and meaning to our lives. They do such a good job that eventually, they can teach us nothing else. Oh sure, they could stick around to encourage us and love us but eventually that just leads to nothing more than superficial hand holding. It is not helping us grow as individuals. In the end, our relationship will end up being a shallow corpse of what it used to be. Those people, for our good and theirs, need to leave.
The Brown family will never forget Nanny McPhee or what she did for them. Just as you and I will never forget what those people in our lives did for us. Just because they leave and move to a new chapter in their life does not mean that we (or they) will forget those wonderful times. It does not mean that they ever stop loving us or that we have to stop loving them. It just means that we have matured, we have grown and that we have become somewhat like them. We carry them with us in our daily lives.
Don’t cry because Nanny McPhee leaves the Brown family. Rejoice that the Brown family has grown and transformed and has become better. Don’t cry when someone special leaves your life. Rejoice over the time that you had with them. In fact, become a person who now gives to other people. Become a Nanny McPhee to someone else. Give value and meaning to others in your life. Share your life with them. Get to know them. Mentor them, walk with them and love them. Because when we do, we continue to spread the influence of those who have influenced us. By doing that, the Nanny McPhee’s in our life will never leave us. They will continue to speak through us and continue to touch the lives of new people.
Do not fear saying goodbye and do not fear looking ahead to what is new. It is good to think that the future might just be better. And it will be better as we carry those people with us and we try to make the futures of others better as well.