Thursday, March 7, 2013

Remembering When?

I remember my mother staying with my kids so their father and I could go way. I remember knowing that I was leaving them in the best hands available. One was in school until about 3 o'clock everyday and one was still at home. It was spring. They could play in the fenced in yard. One dog needed to eat once a day and do his business in the aforementioned yard. Meals were packed in the freezer. And a large loose-leaf notebook was crammed with every instruction for each needy living thing ( including the dog ) with medical releases, dozens of phone numbers, in case of any emergency, allergies, foods preferred by each, carpool numbers and enough clean clothes for a month. I think I said thank you. ( I hope I did ) No, I know I did but I pretty much took for granted that she liked it a lot, had a good time ( great? ) and that she was immensely grateful for the opportunity.

I love my grandchildren more than life itself. I do believe that they are the only rationale for living through raising my kids. They love me back. I am okay with the four ( count 'em ) cats and one large dumb dog. I am fully capable of reading instructions about which animal eats what and when and also how to manage their particular toileting and sleeping requirements ( all different ). My grandchildren are generally well behaved and do listen, although I was reminded twice when I raised my voice in frustration, that they now understood where their dad "got it from."

The eldest had a virus which manifested in vomiting, high temperature and intermittent spells of lethargy that had me checking for signs of life. I did more loads of laundry that I can count and since we slept together ( she was sick ) I was immediately alerted as to when to change the bedding because she threw up on us both.
I let the other one stay home with us on the last day I was there simply because I felt sorry that he was missing such quality time with us at home. And of course, I had hoped that they would play together and allow me a little more time to do laundry, make meals, clean up and get to the bathroom occasionally. They fought: yelled, threw sharp objects and periodically needed me to pour drinks, make popcorn and other snacks and instructed me when to feed and toilet the five animals. Every article they played with downstairs originated up a huge flight of steps and was then carried back up again that same flight by me because they couldn't do it. Harder to get back up than simply pitch down.

I am fifteen years older than my mom was at the time she stayed with my kids. I don't have the emotional or physical faculties I had when I was raising the kids that have justified their existences by reproducing and leaving me with their precious, brilliant, adorable and manipulating offspring.  I can't say no and probably never will. But I did have to call my 91 year old mother to thank her for what she did for me so I could get away, once upon a time, and to give a blow-by-blow account of my experience with my grandchildren. Including the identical story repeating itself about my being locked in a bedroom; like father like son
Her response was a classic: " Who am I talking to? " she said.  So much for making memories.