Sunday Morning~ Amelia and James’s House
September 3, 2017
I often have pangs when I miss my mother terribly. Most of the time I feel her spirit with me but sometimes on a Tuesday evening I’ll have a deep sorrowful desire to talk with her. I used to call her every Tuesday around suppertime. She always answered on the first ring. Sometimes, when I have exciting news, my first impulse is to call her and then I remember I can’t. Yesterday was different though. I spent most of the day desperately wishing she could have known these two sweethearts, and desperately wishing I had bought her diamonds for taking care of my kids as often as she did. Holy shit.
While I was still in Malawi, Rachael had asked me if I could watch the kids for this four-day weekend. I responded to the request as if she’d offered a free trip to Italy. I told her I wanted to do something fun with them, something special they’d remember, of course, giving me full credit. They’d forget I wasn’t here for their formative year! I told her I might take them camping. I thought that might be fun. Maybe at the National Seashore on Cape Cod. Yes, I could picture that. A nice campsite right on the beach, warm sand under our sleeping bags, a stress-free day of building sandcastles and collecting shells. Evening campfires where we’d toast marshmallows and then read stories in the tent before we all drifted off together for a restful night, never thinking an eighteen month old might get fussy or stumble headfirst into the fire. I now have one word for that fantasy. Delusional.
When George and I had the kids on Beach Island, the two of us worked well together and since they adore him and he is amazing with kids, the whole thing was pretty stress-free. There was no place for them to get lost, no cars to worry about, plenty of stones to throw in the water, and always one of us to watch them if we had to do something like pee. They were angels. There was one meltdown at dinner time when I made Amelia shut off Moana to come eat, but mostly bliss. Last weekend when we were doing the home-improvement project here, I bagged the camping idea and thought I’d just stay home with them and continue to work on the unfinished projects. I thought I’d finish the shingling and maybe start on the other wall. Ha ha ha. Very funny. I now have some new goals for the weekend. They include: keeping the kids alive until their parents get home, and brushing my teeth. I mean, by the time they went to bed last night I felt like I was getting back in the swing of this little-kid routine, but I honestly have no idea how I did this with five. Maybe I stopped caring after the third, I don’t know. I certainly don’t know how my mother did it when I dumped them all on her for romantic weekends away. Oh how I wish I could tell her how much I appreciate what she did for me. In my last year of graduate school I had to do an internship and left four kids under four years old, including six month old twins, with her for THREE MONTHS!! I was there at night but she was mostly solo. She saved my life with that heroic gift. Why didn’t I buy her a new house? Matt was in school so stayed in Cleveland with his dad, so it was ONLY four of them. The six year-old, who actually might have been a help, wasn’t there. God, no wonder her friends would come over at four o’clock for wine.
Ok, so it doesn’t help that I’m still licking my wounds from last weekend. When I got here Friday, Amelia said, “Meme, show my dad the boo boo on your butt.” I told her I didn’t want to do that and she asked, “Why? Why don’t you want to show him your butt?” And it’s always a little difficult when you are trying to find stuff in someone else’s kitchen. My mother used to hate my cast iron pans. She’d say, “Why do you have to have these monstrosities to cook on?” And then there’s the technology. I cannot turn on this television, which is fine, since I don’t want to watch it, but I did hear Amelia today with Rachael’s old cell phone asking Siri where her parents were. She started, “Siri, where’s my mom and dad?” and when Siri replied, “I’m sorry. I can’t understand you.” Amelia asked, “Siri, where are my parents?” I was in the kitchen trying to figure out the dishwasher and cracking up. Then a few hours later I got a text from Rachael asking if I was letting the kids use her cell phone as she was getting notices that purchases were made on Amazon that she hadn’t made. I’m putting that in the “they can deal with that when they get home” category.
Ok, and get this. Did the rest of the world realize that kids’ wagons now actually have cup holders? I am not making that up. They have cup holders and seatbelts! Wagons have seatbelts! I kid you not. We went to the playground which was akin to something at Disney world. I know I sound like the old fogey, “When I was a kid we walked thirteen miles to school”, but seriously, this playground is mind boggling. When I was growing up I think there was one swing set in our neighborhood and we used to try to pump so hard on the swings the frame would come up out of the ground. I thought about how dangerous that probably was. Could the whole thing have flipped over? I don’t remember an adult being anywhere within shouting distance. Yesterday every single kid at the playground had a parent holding a water bottle within four feet. So that must be why there are cup holders in wagons. Everyone is in danger of dehydration during their hour at the playground. People! This is New England! Not Death Valley! And why would you ever bring snacks to a playground? Then the kids will never want to leave. Though, on our second trip there I did bring James’s water bottle just to put it in the cup holder, because, really, it is kinda cool. And it was cute to see him like a little emperor, buckled in and sipping on his water as I pulled them home.
I’m excited about how much I’ve gotten written and they aren’t up yet! I don’t want to push my luck here, but I feel like I’m getting my mojo back! I can sit without wincing and slept all night. It’s a rainy day and I’m not even scared!
The first stirrings are audible, so I’m putting this away. With gratitude for being able to do this and awareness of how…I’ll finish that thought later…
Love to all,