A while back, I was asked to stay with my two youngest grandchildren while their parents embarked on an overseas trip which had been months in the planning. I was thrilled for them and looked forward to spending half the time they would be gone caring for my little loves.
It was wonderful for my own sense of self to know that they had enough trust in my abilities that they were comfortable and confident that all would be well on the home front. My daughter left pages of notes about what they liked for lunches and dinners (helpful since their tastes seemed to change daily), their schedules, bedtimes, clothes for school (they have uniforms), the dogs’ food and medicine, money (a nice gesture, but not necessary), insurance information, etc.
My duties began when I picked them up from school. They both wanted to talk at once, so I got bits and pieces of what they each did that day. Their voices got louder as they attempted to talk over each other. Fortunately, the school isn’t too far away. After pulling into the driveway and getting them unbuckled from their car seats, they both bolted to the front door. I “pack muled” their backpacks, which I swear weighed 30 pounds each, into the house. Five minutes in the house found both of them immersed in their iPads. This gave me a chance to unload their backpacks, find the homework that needed to be done and clean out their lunchboxes (making a mental note of what was eaten and what remained in the same state it was in that morning). Behind my back, snacks started disappearing from the pantry, so dinner was not well received. I patted myself on the back for getting them in their beds only half an hour later than when they were supposed to be there.
As a night owl, I had trouble falling asleep knowing that I had to be up by 6:45am at the latest. The seven-year-old was already awake, and the five-year-old was easy to get going. Dressed, breakfast finished, the dogs’ morning routine completed, backpacks set to go and then…? I had been so proud of myself for having plenty of time to get them to school on time, but the struggle ensued. Suddenly, hair wasn’t fixed properly, the wrong shoes appeared, the socks didn’t feel right and the car seat didn’t want to fasten. And, though we weren’t the last car to pull in, we almost were.
The next morning showed marked improvement, though I was still way behind on sleep. I got in the pickup line earlier than usual and was surprised I didn’t have to wait long for them. On the ride home, the five-year-old said he was cold. The car was cool, but certainly not cold, so I said a quick prayer that he was okay – he wasn’t. The next several hours had him going from a fever, to his rallying like he was fine, to eventually spiking a high fever that got him to the doctor’s office as quickly as possible. He was tested for three different illnesses, but all came back negative. He got home, fell asleep on the sofa, woke up and was back to his old self. I was glad, but also, what the heck was that about?
I loved being with them, being there experiencing their day-to-day activities, making sure they did what was expected of them, though I didn’t like having to use my “Mom” voice every now and then. Watching my grandson construct amazing structures with Magna-Tiles and my granddaughter do ballet around the living room made the five days a wonderful experience – although, I could have done without the fever scare.
I will admit, it was nice to see my son-in-law’s parents take over for the next five days. I was looking forward to a long night of peaceful sleep. Unfortunately, our dog decided the wind was blowing a weird way, and she wanted me to know it by barking as loudly as she could at 7am. Oh well, sleep is overrated.