SEE IT ALL STARTED WITH A PHONE CALL
A little over a week ago, my oldest son phoned and the conversation went something like this:
Him: Hi, Imma. I want to ask you something, but you can say no.
Him: We were thinking of going to Italy for a week.
Me: That's nice.
Him: We'll take the baby.
Him: Its only for five days. Would you move in to our place and watch the kids?
Me: I think the answer is yes but give me until tomorrow night. I have to think a second. It means that I have to cancel my students.
Do I want to move in there with the babies for a week? Do I want to cancel my students? OY!
Him: You mean it?
Him: You mean it?
Him: She means it!
I said I'd do if for a gazillion reasons. I don't spend enough time with my babies. When they come home from nursery school and second grade, I'm still teaching and when I'm finished they're in bed.
I think my kids deserve some time off.
I don't want my babies with a babysitter. Too long and too scary. Five days isn't a couple hours while Imma and Abba are out for dinner or at the movies.
I can get away. A mini-vacation all for myself.
So, I cancelled my lessons...packed a little suitcase...took my knitting/ a new book/ the 155 page printout of The Sexy Ward (which is as far as I've gotten so far)/my mini laptop and off I went.
Now, don't think I've taken this lightly. It is a huge responsibility watching over a seven and a four year old. Being in someone else's house isn't a nice suite in a hotel room with room service, air conditioning, a mini bar and a view. This is serious stuff here.
Just so everyone would feel comfy and warm and safe we all piled into the big bed and fell asleep. She woke up in the middle of the night and cried for her mommy. I got her a glass of water. She cried. I told her it was all right but if she wanted to cry real loud she would have to go back to her bedroom so she wouldn't wake up her brother.
That stopped her! Ptew!
Then there is the hysteria of getting dressed and out of the house on time. Because her nursery school is too far away to walk, I have to phone a cab in the morning. Mornings are not great times for cabs. Well they are if it is before seven fifteen. After that you are up to here in traffic as every Israeli gets into his car and plugs the arteries leading to the heart of the country.
He is easy. Whatever you give him is fine. She is not so easy. This skirt isn't exactly what she had in mind. The cocoa isn't warm enough. She doesn't want her lunch in that box she wants it in this one. You get it. She is only four...well five this month. I shudder as I picture down the road ten years from now.
The good news is that he is in school until 2:45 each day. And she is in nursery school until 4.
The bad news is that he walks home all by himself now.
I forgot those days when I stood with my heart klapping in the window watching and waiting for my kids to come into sight after school. I forgot.
I forgot until yesterday. There I was standing in the street, in front of their house looking, praying and hoping that the kid comes home safely. Have you noticed that it is never your kid who comes home first? It is always your kid who is busy taking his time, checking out the world, happily chatting with his friends.
And, then, just when you are about to call in the Mounties...there he is!!! Thank God!!! See, that wasn't so terrible was it?
Then an hour later, there you are, back in the street waiting for the lady who is driving the little one home from the nursery school. Four oh five...four ten...four fifteen. What the hell was that lady's cell number. Thank goodness you wrote it in your cell phone memory bank.
What do you mean there is no answer? LADY PICK UP YOUR PHONE!!! WHERE IS MY BABY???
I phoned twice, and just when I was about to go back into the house to find the number of the nursery school, she called. Don't worry she said...we are on the way.
By the time I got the two of them back inside, I was a nervous wreck.
See, I don't want you to think I'm much better with my own kids. I still stand in the window of my mind worrying about them. But I have two safety valves. One...the cell phone. I call until they pick it up. And two...for those who don't live at home, I never phone in the evening as I know they went to sleep at eight o'clock and don't want to wake them up.
What time is it? Ten thirty? Damn! Too late to phone.
I promised the babies we would go out for dinner. I did that for two reasons. One, to make their first night with me special and two to kill time. Quick out for dinner...fill up the bellies...run home and take a shower...put on pajamas...climb into the big bed...turn on the TV and VOILA asleep!
I'm not certain who fell asleep first...but when the phone rang and I woke up to answer it, he was still watching some action movie on channel five.
Today is day two. Three more to go. Today we made it out and away this morning. I still have four and a half hours before I am back in the street waiting to greet him.
Tonight we are ordering in pizza. The fridge is full of wonderful food my DIL made and left for us. The cupboards are stocked and overflowing with stuff my son put in for us.
But pizza is pizza!
Tomorrow, he finishes at one. The plan for tomorrow is grab a cab, pick him up, go get her, off to the mall for a hamburger and chips, then back to my place where hubby and Joe College can take over for a few hours. We're also going to sleep at my place. Nice change.
That leaves Wednesday and Thursday until the kids get back in the afternoon.
I don't remember being this exhausted and happy in a long time. There is nothing like little arms hugging you and little wet kisses or little people saying 'I love you, Bubbie."
So it is all worth it.
Except. I forgot to mention. There are twenty-two steps from the downstairs to the upstairs. Steps I climbed yesterday a million times. Today I learned to shout, "Hey kids. Whoever wants some hot chocolate, COME AND GET IT!"
And, there are even more stairs to get from the road to the front door. Yesterday I climbed them at least six times. Today, I am staying home...downstairs...with my book, my writing, my knitting, a newspaper and my coffee.
Well, until 2:45 when I take up my post in the street.
Sometimes a Bubbie has to do what a Bubbie has to do. And, this is a win-win situation.
Memories. We build memories. And the truth is that they are delicious. It's just that the old grey mar, she ain't what she used to be. Sigh.
Have a great day...stay safe...and thanks for dropping in.