Those of you who follow my blog have learned about black widows, Copperhead, butterflies, and mushrooms. You have stuck with me through despair, loss, memories, and simple joys. I feel that now, is the time to add a little humor to my blog, and so, I relate this narrative of an evening with my 32-year-old daughter as we laugh our way through a little exercise in cooperation with two teens and three preschoolers.
I was taking a late night walk with my son and his friend when we came upon my daughter with a car full of little ones as they pulled into my son’s driveway. She had traded babysitting duties with her sister-in-law and it was her turn to take care of his two boys, ages 5 and 2 ½, along with her own 4-year-old daughter.
Tired, but armed with a bag of Mc Donald’s goodies, she begged us to say and keep them company for a while. As the food disappeared, and they night wore on, my daughter and I noticed that the teens and preschoolers had retreated to the older boys bedroom and were watching cartoons, oblivious to the world.
Our evil minds started working. “They don’t know we’re on the planet.” I lamented.
“Wonder how long it would take them to notice if we left?” my daughter laughed.
My eyebrows shot up as I smiled. “Let’s find out!”
She looked at me quizzically as I continued. “ Let’s go sit on the porch and we can hear them if they come looking for us. We could just sit and enjoy the quiet night air and see how long it takes.”
She, being my daughter, was intrigued. “The older ones are teenagers, they aren’t going to leave the little ones unattended.”
“And we can hear them if anything is going on.” I added.
We giggled in unison and headed for the front door, where we discovered two school-type chairs amidst the toy disaster area, and began to relax. We talked about our aching backs, and the exhaustion of dealing with a house full of little ones. She complimented me on having done “the 24/7 mom duty” for so long with six kids of various ages. I laughed as I told her that “she was getting what she deserved” from her intuitive, intelligent four-year old girl, so much like her mother had been as a child.
Time went on, as we began to notice how the teens had done exactly what we expected. They had taken over and watched the little ones in our absence. To be honest, we were feeling a bit unneeded, when we finally heard the teens in the living room, wondering where we had gone.
I heard my son tell his friend that, “They probably just went on a walk and will be back soon.” at which time, they returned the boys bedroom where the little ones were still watching TV.
The little ones, were well aware that it was way past bedtime and that their chances of staying up depended solely on it being the wide-wake teens, rather than the worn out mom and grandma, who were watching them. Thus, they were stoically unconcerned about our ‘disappearance’.
Finally, when my daughter and I decided we had proved our hypothesis, (that the teens would take over, and dutifully watch out over the little ones), we went to the door and turned the handle.
“Crap,” I fumed, “We’re locked out.”
“Oh, yeah,” my daughter remembered, “if you don’t set that door knob just right, you can’t get back in without the key!”
We stood, giggling in the moonlight as we began knocking loudly on the door, calling for the teens to come let us in.
I think the teens had figured out our game by then and had decided to make us pay. We heard them laughing together about how long they should make us wait before they pretended to finally hear us and let us in.
My daughter was slamming her hand against the wooden door, yelling, “Hey, let us in, we’re locked out!” when they finally came and opened the door.
“Something wrong? My son grinned as he stood in the doorway.
“You know….” I started, as he began to laugh and stepped aside.
Everything was quiet and in order, little ones still staring at the tube. We felt totally unnecessary. The teens got a kick out of our trick backfiring on us and we got a little well deserved privacy at their expense.
My grown children have made it a primary goal in their lives to get me to laugh, play jokes, be silly, like I used to be before I lost their brother, (my son), my health and so much more. I am sure that my daughter was thinking, “Score one for the team.” as we left to allow her to finally get on with her bedtime routine.
Once again the teens showed me that they were capable, responsible and mature. They are also a lot easier to “take care of”, as my daughter reminded me as I left her with three screaming little ones who didn’t want to go to bed.
After a morning when I had practically “kissed” a Copperhead, and an evening filled with memories, joys and laughs like I hadn’t experience in years, I slept through the night for the first time since I can remember.