Friday, July 22, 2011

"Mommy, Please Leave"

Every Tuesday morning my dad and step-mother watch my girls for a few precious hours, so that I can get out of the house and write distraction-free. It's been a great weekly date for the girls as well, who wait by the front window, watching for their grandparents' car, squealing as they see it park, jumping up and down as Grandpa pulls his banjo out of the back seat and Grandma fetches her coffee and latest book and heads toward the front door.

I try to take a few minutes to chat with my dad before heading out, and sometimes we even get a few words in. Usually, though, the girls are in a hurry to send me on my way. They have songs to sing while my dad plays banjo, or weddings to plan where he will be the groom, or various animal rides to take where he will play the animal and they will play the riders. The visual of my 71-year-old father crawling up and down the stairs with a 40-pound child on his back is priceless, and sometimes I like to take a moment to acknowledge him for his willing sacrifices to his body to keep these little girls happy. The little girls, however, have no time for such sentimentality.

"Mommy, please leave!" they shout in unison, as I try to chat with my dad. One will grab my wrist, the other pushing me from behind, leading me toward the door.

Once upon a time, they were shy about these weekly babysitting sessions. I can even remember early on, I would sneak out when Peanut went down for a nap, so she wouldn't know I was gone, and it would take both grandparents to soothe my separation-anxiety-ridden String Bean as I made for the door. Those days are history, as I try to finish my brief conversation with my dad, try to ask my step-mother what book she's reading now, and try to bid farewell to the girls who shove me so indelicately toward my car.

I get into the car, both girls shouting "Go, Mommy, go!" through cupped hands at the garage door, and smile. I am so grateful for my Tuesday morning alone time. And so glad my girls get the undivided attention of their grandparents for a few hours as well. Catch up time with my dad and step-mom can wait.

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