I was in Chicago for work, four months’ pregnant with our fifth child, when my husband told me the news on the phone. “She’s extending,” he said. “Is she crazy?” I asked, half kidding and completely delighted.
At the time, Charlie was 7, Bryson was 6, Adelyn was 4, and Marielle was 1. Our home was already very, very busy–and we were months away from adding a newborn to it all.
My name is Kimberly Begg. I work outside our home during school hours. I have a demanding job that requires travel. I cherish my time at home with our family, I love having a big family, even as I recognize that caring for five children is challenging.
My husband is Ian. He also works outside our home. He goes into the office early so he can be home most evenings by 5:15. He is an attentive father, spending a lot of time reading to our children, playing baseball and football with them in the backyard, and engaging with them.
CHI’s au pair program is perfect for us, because we need another adult at home. We have loved all five of our au pairs. They are all loving, wonderful young women.
But we have never nominated any of them for the Au Pair of the Year award, until now.
Edina Gabri became a part of our family as soon as she arrived at our Virginia home from Romania. She said her English was not very good, but it was nearly perfect. She was kind and patient and helpful. She anticipated what our family needed, so we could better enjoy our time together. She managed our children’s mountain of laundry. She braided the girls’ hair so it would look pretty and stay out of their faces. She went to the store on her own to buy the only kind of yogurt my son would eat.
I never left Edina a single to-do list. She just knew how to help us and love us.
I was 41 weeks pregnant when I started having contractions at 1:00 a.m. on a Saturday. Ian woke Edina up at 6:30 a.m. to tell her we were leaving for the hospital. She ran outside and gave me a hug in the driveway, in between contractions. We arrived at the hospital and little Lucia Rose was born half an hour later. My recovery was easy, so I wanted to come home as soon as possible. Monday was the boys’ first day of school and there would be an Opening Ceremony for parents and students. It was also Charlie’s 8th birthday. I didn’t want to miss it.
I realized as soon as I woke up Monday morning that I would not be leaving the house. I was having abdominal pain and I just felt horrible. Ian went to the Opening Ceremony at school without Lucia and me. Soon after he arrived home, we told Edina we were on our way to the Emergency Room. We told her we would be home in time to pick the boys up from school.
That’s not what happened. Hours passed in the ER and the doctors could not figure out what was causing my pain and fever. I was admitted to a room and then transferred to the ICU. My blood pressure was too low and my heart rate was too fast. I had a central line put in, so the doctors could restart my heart if I had organ failure.
It would be two days before the doctors knew I had sepsis, caused by Strep A. The infection was spreading through my blood. I was scared. I missed my children. It was especially painful not being able to see my little Lucia.
The doctors and nurses saved my life, while Ian, my parents, and Edina worked together to take care of our children at home. Most patients with sepsis spend weeks in the hospital. Many suffer organ damage. Some die. I was discharged in three days with no long-term consequences.
But I still needed to recover. Edina was a friend, a daughter, and a sister to Ian and me during that time. She was a godsend to our children and our family. She still is.
We appreciate Edina’s kindness, helpfulness, and patience. She smiles and laughs a lot. She manages our children’s activity schedules, chores, and temper tantrums. She is potty training our 2-year-old–and she never complains. (Need I say more?) She volunteers to watch all five children so Ian and I can spend time together on a Saturday night. She is simply an extraordinary young woman who is an absolute pleasure to be around.
CHI is an excellent agency. We have been very impressed with your representatives and staff, as well as the loving young women who go through your program as au pairs.
Edina is exceptional. Please recognize her as CHI’s Au Pair of the Year.