But first, I cried… as I took the empty carseat out of my car. I cried as I opened the back door only to see leftovers from breakfast: his favorite fruit yesterday was not his favorite fruit today. In the living room, there was a basket of blocks meant to stay at Grandma’s house. My home was now silent. I had just returned from dropping him and his mama off at the airport. They don’t live here anymore.
But, I smiled.
Now, I have nothing but time to retrace the days of their visit. It had been over a month since I’d seen them. I was thrilled that they were coming and they were going to stay with me! I bought books, and toys, and little boy pajamas with cartoon characters on them. I set up a Pack-N-Play in my spare bedroom with a fresh new crib sheet. I pulled out the sleeper sofa and made it ready for his mama. Foods that I remembered him liking were purchased. The carseat was taken out of the basement and put, securely, in the back seat of my car.
And, I smiled.
I picked them up at the designated stop. They both looked tired. It had been a hard flight. Two delays meant that he had to expend energy by running from one gate to another in the airport. Luckily, a friend was along for this leg of the trip. Mama, you see, is seven months pregnant. She moves slower now and could not catch him if he ran away too fast. And now, she is aching with pain from a long journey. Still, the minute she walks into my home, she snaps into high alert. Quickly surveying the environment, she grabs low level items and moves them to a higher shelf. I say “Don’t worry about them.” But, she does. He looks like an angel, walking from thing to thing and gently touching each. I say, “See, he’ll be just fine.” She doesn’t agree. She says, “Just wait.” I have some new toys, just for him. He sees them and says “WOW!” I think that I must be the smartest Grandma ever! Accept, I hadn’t considered the cat. He leaves the new toys when he sees the cat. He wants to pet it but the cat doesn’t understand little boy touches so the cat hisses. I say, “Leave kitty alone.” That had to be repeated more than once. The kitty was far more intriguing than his new toys. Even though it was late, and he was tired, he didn’t want to go to sleep but mama was tired too so, that first night, they both fell asleep early.
And I smiled.
I have two people, whom I love with all of my heart, asleep in the next room. Life could not be better right now.
I tried to be quiet the next morning but my floors creak. I laid still waiting to hear a sound. Then, all of a sudden, I heard a little knock coming from the other side of his bedroom door. A little baby knock. Are you kidding me? I burst out laughing! He had crawled out of the Pack-N-Play onto mama’s bed and down to the floor but he couldn’t quite get the bedroom door open so he knocked! I opened the door and out strolled this little boy. His first word? “Kitty, alone.” But, he sees the kitty and off he goes! He just really wants to touch that kitty; especially the tail. The kitty hisses and finds a place to hide. He sees his new toys again and forgets the kitty.
They stayed for several days and I got to see the meaning of mama’s “Just wait” warning. This little guy is now two. What that means is: 1) he’s curious, really curious…picking up everything, touching it, throwing it, trying to see if he can eat it. 2) he doesn’t respond to “No”, at least not the way you would want him to. When you say “No, don’t climb on the table, he smiles and climbs on the table anyway. 3) he thinks that getting out of the Pack-N-Play is much more fun than sleeping and nap time becomes an hour plus of simply trying to get him to stay in bed long enough to actually fall asleep. 4) he feeds himself now, which means that everything is sticky; his hands and face, his shirt, the table, the chair, the floor, 5) and right around 4:00 pm, he turns into a…hmmm…let’s just say he gets really naughty and by this time we are really tired, so time outs are issued over and over again and you try to figure out what else you can do besides make an active little boy sit…at night…when it’s dark and cold outside. We tried going down to my basement which isn’t big or pretty but we could blow bubbles down there and throw a ball. I even set up a little easel with a canvas so he could paint me a picture. That was funny because he was more curious about getting into the chair and picking out the paint than he was with actually painting. One swipe, maybe two and he was off to do something else and the paint was left to dry on the brush.
By bedtime, I was ready for a glass of wine…or two.
But I couldn’t help but smile.
After more days of the same, I am totally exhausted. I love him but he’s wearing me out. His mama wants to have time to visit friends. I was glad to take care of the little man, but then again…it really was exhausting. Part of me wanted just a little peace and quiet. The other part of me knew that all too soon their visit would end, so I was simply thankful for the time.
Over the visit, we packed in a Thanksgiving family dinner, a two year old birthday party at the loudest little kid place ever, and a family wedding celebration for my other daughter. His daddy arrived before Thanksgiving and then I had a new stress. Daddy is allergic to cats! Still, daddy was able to get the little man to sleep with a calmer plan than our’s had been.
And so I smiled!
Then, just like that, it’s done. Daddy flies home one day and, two days later, we are packing up his new toys and books, his blanket and favorite stuffed monkey. We tried to get him to eat something before we took it all to the car. He chased the cat one more time, then took an ornament off of the Christmas tree and threw it; shattering it into a million pieces. I think he knew that it was going to be a sad day for mama and grandma. So, he gave us a good dose of naughty to take our minds off of the departure. In the car, strapped into his carseat safely, he’s impatient. “Go, go, go.” he says every single time we have to stop at a light. Then, he got quiet and sleep consumed him.
And once again, I smiled.
The airport was busy. No time to linger. I cried. Mama cried. Little man got transferred to his stroller. He wanted to walk. “No, you have to stay in the stroller, now. You be good for mama, ok?” I gave him one more kiss and hugged his mama tight. “I love you both so much.” I say. She responds with, “It won’t be long and we’ll see each other again.” She’s right.
With tears filling my eyes, I, still found the strength to smile.
Now, here I am in my quiet home, again. All evidence of a little boy has been cleaned up and put away. But the sounds and the images of him running through the rooms, climbing into chairs, knocking on the bedroom door surround me. Memories of a busy little boy having fun at Grandma’s house. And I smile.