When my editor asked me to nanny for her nearly two years ago I was hesitant at first. Admittedly I thought to myself, aren’t I too old for this? What would my friends, who were well into their careers as teachers, therapists, nurses, directors of sales and marketing, think about hanging out with an overgrown babysitter?

I’m just being honest, I would love to say that I didn’t feel insecure about taking a job that was perhaps better suited for a 20-year-old college student or person who may have just moved to this country, but the truth is I kind of felt like the world’s biggest underachiever. However, despite my petty insecurities I also knew that the nanny opportunity would allow me the option to write for the paper as well go back to college.

What I didn’t realize was that it would also give me the opportunity to fall in love.

Born to two blond Manhattan Beach parents, we were all surprised when Madeline came into this world with a head of thick dark brown hair. “This is a special one,” the nurse said looking at her seconds after she was born.

I would soon find out after meeting her that “special” was an understatement. My first day on the job, she was about three months old and I knew as I held her that I had made the right decision by being her nanny.

If you work with kids or if you are a parent, then you’ll understand what I mean when I say that there is nothing more enlightening than the innocence of a child. We forget that there was a day when we didn’t know what a dog was or what sound a helicopter makes or that milk comes from cows. It’s like all of a sudden we are grown ups talking about health care reform and the war but it really wasn’t that long ago that we were just learning to put on our own shoes and that the letter A is for Alligator.

Every day I see Madeline I am reminded of what is more important than the economy, or traffic or politics. I reminded the instant I walk into the house and I hear her scream my name and run to me with her curly (now blond) hair and her big blue eyes. “Daaaaaaaaa” she yells to me. (We think she calls me “Da” because she overheard my mother calling me darling one time) I pick her up and say I love you sooooooo much.

“So much” she repeats.

“Yup so much” I say.

For now, I get to teach her things like what sound a horse makes or what a triangle is or how to say please, thank you and sorry. But before I know it, Madeline will be smarter than I am. There will be a day when I will visit her at college and she will speak intellectually about the world. She will have questions I probably won’t have the answers to and she will have perspectives that I never thought of.

I look forward to that day as I look forward to every day I have the chance to see her grow and change. Her evolution is the most profound experience I have ever been a part of and because of that I can’t imagine my life without this job.

Unfortunately, I am still not free and clear of my insecurities. I still compare myself to others and in my mind I often fall a bit short of where I think I should be. But then, like a miracle, the next day arrives and I walk into work and before I can even think about whether or not I’m doing what I am supposed to be doing with my life, I hear the screams of a little girl with curly blond hair and blue eyes.

“Daaaaaaaaaa!”