Although my daughter Elizabeth and 5-year-old Addy and 7-year-old Jonah live with me, I’m rarely “the babysitter,” but this weekend I was. To my delight, I was doing an overnight with them as their mother took a break, but who said babysitting is easy?
Most nights I’m out at events, and one night when I was leaving, Addy asked me, “Grandma, why do you go out so much?” Her older brother Jonah immediately answered, “Addy, Grandma provides for us and that’s her work!” “Oh,” she replied.
So for them to have me home was a treat for them and me!
The passing of the “baton” to me started in the afternoon. Elizabeth suggested I buy marshmallows, Hershey chocolate bars and graham crackers, all the ingredients to make s’mores. I have a fireplace, and I fought with the heavy metal lever that opens the flue. I’ve made the mistake in the past of not having it fully open and the house filled with smoke. It took days to get the smell out of the house.
So, I learned from my mistake and stuck my head into the fireplace to look up the smokestack to see the sky. That’s my assurance that I opened it enough to avert another “disaster.”
I had bought firewood last year and this year bought starter cubes to help me get the fire started. The kids crumbled newspaper—not mine—and we placed it around the logs.
Then I lit a few matches to start the paper going in each corner and within minutes we had a beautiful fire. We had long sticks that we placed marshmallows on and began our marshmallow roasting. I like mine charcoal-crunchy on the outside and soft inside. The kids loved making them more eating them was another matter. I ended up eating more than the two of them!
Then we put the chocolate bars into the microwave for 30 seconds and they were melted enough to be spreadable on the graham crackers, with a marshmallow cooked soft enough to be squeezed into a sandwich ready for eating. But the kids preferred making the treats and didn’t even eat one!
They loved making them more than eating them, and Jonah said to me as we sat together on the bench in front of the fireplace, “Grandma, this is the happiest day of my life!” My heart melted.
After unsticking ourselves from the mushy marshmallows, it was time for a real dinner of chicken soup with noodles and matzah balls, their favorite foods.
Then the drama began. Addy and Jonah brought her blankets, pillows and stuffed animals to my room, expecting to have them sleep in my room. But as she started to creep under the covers, the tears started falling and she cried, “I miss my mom. Can I call my mommy?” So we dialed her up and spoke. Elizabeth reassured her that she would be home the next day and in a firm voice told her she could sleep in her bed if she preferred, but Addy, crying harder, said, “Mommy, I can’t find your love note and Daddy’s silk handkerchief!” so upstairs we went and searched for them. Meanwhile, Jonah woke up and decided to sleep in his mom’s bed rather than at the foot of my bed on the floor. So upstairs we went, too. He too, whimpering sadly, called his mom to tell her how much he missed her! My heart swelled too, making me tearful.
I felt like I was in a scene in one of their favorite teenage TV shows – up, down, up we went until around midnight, with Addy holding my iPhone watching YouTube videos until she finally fell asleep. I only worried they’d be zombies the next day when they had 11 a.m. dates with their cousins.
At about 6 a.m., I heard Addy and Jonah talking about what they were going to eat for breakfast. They were all chipper but I was exhausted, desperate for a few more hours of sleep.
By about 8 a.m., I knew I was finished and needed to make them breakfast before my favorite Sunday morning show began at 9 a.m. They wanted to eat silver dollar-size pancakes. Addy asked for seven and Jonah wanted four. They gobbled them up and disappeared into another room to watch their favorite TV show.
Peace and joy reigned as I drove them to my daughter Samantha’s house 10 minutes away. They ran up her walkway with smiles on their faces as they were greeted by their cousins and I had one on mine, too. I had made my delivery and finished my babysitting journey! I survived and they did too!
A few hours later, my son Josh and his wife Tracey with their little ones, Hudson and Sloan, paid a visit and all 12 of us had dinner together.
Four-year-old Hudson knew he had no school tomorrow and I loved how Hudson explained to me why we celebrate Martin Luther King Day: “Because, Grandma, he wanted to make everyone equal!” Out of the mouth of babes, the simple but profound truth.
Blake, 10, and Morgan, 7, slept over Sunday night, but my daughter Elizabeth had returned and was there with me—no one has cried yet. Hooray!
It was a perfect ending to a holiday weekend.