"It is always difficult to know if an au pair will really be the one - you know, the kind of person that will fit in and truly become part of the family. Let’s face it, we all know that it can be difficult to live together even in the best of circumstances, but Martin has truly become part of our family and has endured very difficult and trying times with us. We now often find ourselves wondering what we will do when his time with us ends in July.
Martin’s caring spirit and willingness to always help out was certainly put to the test during one of the most difficult times in our family’s lives, during Hurricane Harvey. Martin had no idea that shortly after becoming our au pair in July, that life as we knew it, would be completely disrupted a month after his arrival. Our home and our lives changed when Hurricane Harvey delivered 50” of water to Houston and subsequently, the water enter our home ruining our entire first floor, drowning our garage, as well as our cars.
Because we have an apartment above our garage and a second floor over the main house, we served as a safe place to stay for friends and neighbors living in single story homes. As the streets filled with water they escaped to our home after wading chest deep in water or via boat, canoe, or kayak. As people arrived, Martin helped us assist them into our home fetching towels and showing them upstairs to safety. He did this while simultaneously caring for our children and the children of those staying with us. He endlessly played cards and board games in the very cramped garage apartment; helping to make fun from a not so fun situation. When the water receded, he assisted us in the remediation of our home and encourage our children to help out with the flood clean up.
Martin made this terrifying and uncertain time fun and safe for our three children ages 11, 13, and 15! Through all the difficulties, and the destruction of our home, Martin never left our family - even though the hurricane had changed everything. It was near impossible to find a rental house, and so with no place to go, we decided to live in our waterlogged home on the second floor, without a full kitchen or working appliances. Martin moved out of the main house due to the damage of our first floor, which included Martin’s bedroom (he lost many personal items to the flood) and into the bedroom of the garage apartment which was situated on the opposite side of our home (we remained on the 2nd floor of the main house).
I was beyond grateful when Martin rolled up his sleeves, helped us pack up all necessities moved them to the second floor, assisted us with packing and loading of all salvageable items into a rented U-Haul and continued to assist us with the unloading of U- haul into our storage unit. We never had to ask, he always just cheerfully jumped I and helped us out! Martin had to adapt to our new way of life very quickly. He willingly took on many new, and at times overwhelming responsibilities without any complaints. Our home become the temporary home for 2 displaced teenagers that had their own homes devastated leaving them separated from their own families. Even with additional children, Martin tirelessly helped out, going over and beyond time and time again. Feeding and clothing a family of 5 plus two additional teens was no easy task, especially without a functioning kitchen and with an apartment sized washer and dryer. Staying warm was also a challenging as the inside walls were removed and all the insulation was thrown away. Nevertheless, Martin and our family managed to overcome all of these challenges by working together as a unified team. Martin became our family’s super hero and Ron and I have no idea how we will ever repay him for his kindness, patience and understanding!
There is so much more we could say about Martin, but overall, he has shown us a loyalty and love for our family that is like no other we have felt from any au pair before. We are truly humbled by his giving nature and our family will forever be grateful for his assistance and care during the most difficult time of our lives. We feel so lucky and blessed to have had this opportunity to host Martin for his extension year! From the bottom of our hearts, we submit this nomination for the Au Pair of the Year Award. We cannot think of anyone that would be more deserving of this recognition!