Cori & Amanda: Learning to let go

  • Article by: GAIL ROSENBLUM , Star Tribune
  • Updated: February 20, 2012 - 3:30 PM

Yes, she is too old to have a nanny. But Amanda Ling, whose 16th birthday falls on Leap Day, isn't ready to leap into independence just yet. Neither is Cori Linehan.

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Cori Linehan has been a nanny to Amanda Ling since birth.

Photo: Jim Gehrz, Star Tribune

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In 1991, Cori was a 21-year-old nanny from Eau Claire, Wis., who "couldn't cook a thing but needed a job" when hired as live-in caregiver for Amanda's two older siblings, then 4 and 5. Six months later, Amanda was born and Cori, whose goal was to stay for four years, stuck around. "I kind of wanted a baby," said Cori, now 38. "And I wanted to grow up with a family." • Mostly, she grew up with Amanda. The best times (this is a secret) were when the big kids went off to school and Cori and Amanda stayed home to bake cookies ("from a cookbook!" Cori boasts), read, swim, smear glitter with Popsicle sticks and have picnics in the park. Half a PB&J for Amanda, the other half for Cori, plus a little bag of chips and juice box. Amanda loves that Cori always packed them the same thing. • Each had milestones. Amanda grew out of diapers, started preschool, learned to read. Cori got married, moved tearfully into a townhouse, got pregnant and added "daydreaming" to her nanny routine. "It took me until a few years ago," Amanda says laughing, "to realize she was napping." Amanda, now a sophomore at Eden Prairie High School, is driving, navigating the boy thing, and playing soccer and saxophone. Cori juggles her own daughters, 9 and 12 , with fixing dinner and calling plumbers for the Lings. She's gearing up to find a new family to care for, the kind with babies who need lifting into highchairs. Maybe this summer. "I know I'm just going to cry," Amanda said. "If she needs me," Cori said, "she can call me."

DO YOU KNOW A SPECIAL DUO?

"Duets" is an occasional feature that celebrates unique or surprising relationships between two people. Send ideas to: grosenblum@startribune.com or call 612-673-7350. Please put "Duets" in the subject line.

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