The best gift

This is a precious moment.  I cried a little as you left, then some more and more and not wanting to sop around on such a beautiful day, so I made myself stop.  And decided to tell you about it.  I am overwhelmed.  Today it is because I am so grateful.  Grateful for sleep and some time alone.  Grateful for Gina, your new friend and nanny.  I awakened to the quiet morning.  No one squealed, hummed, barked, whined, scratched on the door or called my name through the echoing kitchen.  Instead, I heard birds. It was dark, the moon-glow surreal. I had slept.  I stretched and got up, slipped out and closed the door so as not to disturb Grandpa.  I flicked the switch on the coffee maker (which I’d readied the evening prior) and snuck a peek and your sleeping face amidst the fresh flannel comforter in the new bunk bed.  I stand on my toes to see Liza, still soundly asleep in her crib, snuggled with a tightly wound blankie I got at Toys R Us last week.  This is my time, I thought.  Mine. (even if for just a few minutes). And it was.

Today Gina came at 9, stepped in, talked sweetly on her knees to each of you as she slipped on socks, shoes, one hand sliding sippy cups in the canvas bag, helped you with your jacket, moved your car seat into her car and said good-bye. She took charge.  Just came in, wiped a teary face, carted you out and said she’d bring a receipt from a light lunch if that was okay and went to Mothersong with you.  Just like that.  Took charge.  I had no idea how moved I’d be by this simple gift.  How deep was my need to have someone take over.  Just come in and take over.  And leave me in peace for a few hours in the house.

I wandered around doing things that have been niggling at me; painted a spot above the mirror in the bathroom where we lowered the old mirror so you could see yourself. I put away and re-stacked the dishwasher, moved some things to the garage from the back porch and stored some of the too small clothes in zippered bags from the new flannel sheets. I ate an egg that stayed hot for the entire meal that I ate in one sitting.  I am worried that I will waste this time.  That I don’t have my wits about me.  The last two hours I got were when Mommy and Daddy came over and I wanted to go to the store for groceries.  I also wanted to get some Christmas cards, wrapping paper, a gift, your sheets, a mattress, some paint and some new socks for Liza, but I couldn’t make any one of the stops productive.  No twin sheets at Costco, or twin mattresses or the gift or baby socks.  Crowds and not a thing done.  Out to baby bloomers for socks and got some pants and a shirt and overalls, but forgot the socks.  Got groceries, but got nonfat milk instead of whole milk for you guys and forgot the beer.  So frazzled, I had to ask myself out loud if red light meant go or stop.  A lady beeped really loud then I knew I’d gotten it wrong.  Red is hot, I had reasoned, so probably it means fast, like go fast.  Dangerously low on brainpower.  I stopped for a nutritional smoothie.

But today I feel like Ellie Foster.  A Grandma in our community who just amazed me when she stepped in.  Ellie Foster, who I barely knew, but she was kind, intelligent and took in her grandchildren.  She was my hero.  I’d see her all over town with those lucky children.  Taking care.  I have no plans to continue this arrangement until you close your door to hide new body hair from me, or want to drive or apply to college.  I have plans that mommy and daddy are going to work things out to become your caregiving parents again. Maybe they need a Gina, too.  A college graduate with life skills, confidence, and the ability to simply bring the gift of her ability to know what to do.  To take charge.  That is her gift to all of us.  But especially to me.  Thank you, Gina.  You are the best gift. gma

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