Her mother died when she was 6 years old. Her father, for her own protection, subjected her to various mind games and programming, as he fought battles of depression and denial over the death and betrayal of his wife. Sydney Bristow was subsequently raised by a nanny, a woman we never see, hear about or know. The sweet and innocent girl that blossomed into a strong, intelligent woman with high morals and values, was, as it seems, raised by a ghost. Though we have no hard facts about this mysterious parental figure, we can, through Sydney’s character and personality, piece together the type of person this woman was and how she raised Sydney.
We understand from day one that Sydney is a very trusting and honest individual. We know this is not something she learned from Jack or Irina. Her caretaker had to have instilled this almost naïve sense of trust and must have protected her from the rumors and lies surrounding her parents. Sydney has stated several times that her parents were never around when she was growing up, she never had anyone to disappoint. I find that hard to believe. Sydney has always been one looking for validation, approval. If not, she would have dropped out of school along time ago. She was doing what she thought her mother would have wanted her to do. She works hard and expects results, which is something I think was enforced while she was growing up. Her father enforced it with Project Christmas. He wanted Sydney to be able to uphold torture, both physical and psychological. He wanted results and he got them in the form a super-spy daughter.
Even in the absence of her parents, Sydney never complains about an unhappy childhood. In fact, in many of her dreams, when we meet little Sydney, she seems happy. At her birthday party in the park, her friends are there, as well as her father. She has many old pictures of she and her mother, smiling and hugging. She was obviously a much loved child, and in her mother’s absence and her father’s imprisonment, the love must have been carried over by whoever was watching over her.
It had occurred to me, after the revelation that Sophia was Elena, that perhaps Sydney too was raised by someone close to her, that perhaps Irina had sent someone in to take care of Sydney, to watch her and perhaps even groom her for the work she would do later in life. If Nadia is in fact the Passenger, and several Rambaldi followers and doctors were sent to protect her, why wouldn’t the same to be true for Sydney, the Chosen One?
Whoever was brought in to take care of Sydney, we can all agree that they raised a well-rounded woman. Determination, strength, self-worth, honesty, and trust are just a few of the traits we learn from our parents, from those who are around as at an impressionable age. These traits will no doubt be part of little Bristow-Vaughn’s life.
What are your thoughts on Sydney’s caregiver? Who do you think raised Sydney? Why do you suppose we never hear Sydney talk about this person? For a show so based on loyalty and family- how could the writers exclude such an important person?