Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Knee-Deep in Granddaughters; Considering Frontal Lobotomy

Knee-Deep in Granddaughters; Considering Frontal Lobotomy
            What was I thinking? Three weeks with granddaughters, six and eight; fun and sweetness; creating memories to treasure all our years; my fantasy-laden imagination worked overtime.

            Truly, the train ride with Lexi met all my expectations. Oh, except the moments in the dining car when she blithely blurted out all the family secrets to total strangers who pumped her for details, to the delight of everyone within ear shot.

            On our arrival the little cousins greeted each other, bouncing and jumping with glee, hugs and non-stop chatter. The first day was a joy, indeed. The girls were glued to one another, exploring their own worlds, leaving we adults to enjoy grown-up time. Heaven gets no better than this, I thought, as we sat at the picnic table in the yard watching two female “Tiggers” bouncing on the trampoline. Ah, life is good.

            By evening the second day, the wind changed. The little darlings grew fangs and sprouted claws. We adults listened to thirty seconds of who, what and whys before instituting time-out. Personally, I thought the time-out not nearly long enough. After a too-short time of separation, the girls, best-friend status renewed, arms around one another’s shoulders, took turns reading books.

            The third day required three time-out periods. The older one displayed a surprising demonstration of rage for our edification while the younger one had an emotional melt-down with trauma and drama equal to a nuclear reactor failure. Antoinette went to bed with her mother. Lexi went to bed with me. The majority of us were in tears.

            I hardly slept. My mind revolved around a circle of worries and solutions. Worries dominated. Worries were easy. Was Lexi too young for a three week trip away from home? Of course, she is. Lexi and I have spent weeks alone, but in the comfort of her own familiar surroundings. I must have lost my mind to bring her two thousand miles from home.

            Believe me, I thought the whole thing through. Both girls are alphas, only children used to being alone, in control of their elders, and not sharing Mom or Grandma with others. Lexi and I were invaders. We moved in for an extended stay. Antoinette suddenly had to share her Mom with not only a little rug rat but also with Grandma, who took up way more of Mom’s attention than she deemed necessary.

            Solutions? There are no solutions, woman. Well, how could I have known? It has been too many years since I had to deal with little kids and their emotional ups and downs.

            I considered flying home with Lexi the next day. That would be a break a toe, cut off the leg sort of solution. I never told you I didn’t think in extremes. But I had sense enough not to act upon my first impulse. I have learned one or two things after living all these years.

            Meanwhile, my daughter had a chat with Antoinette. “I get it, Mom. I get it. Having a cousin live with you is just like having a sister. You can’t send her home when you get tired of her.”

            Life has leveled out for us. The girls still generally need a time-out or two each day. Usually, the girls determine when they need a break from one another. If they miss the signals, we catch them. We throw the little darlings in the pool every afternoon and that helps. When the sun goes down and their lips turn blue, we let them out for dinner. We jump them into jammies and count the minutes until bed time.

            My appointment with the brain surgeon for a “frontal lobotomy” is on hold. I cancelled a trip to the local watering hole for a “bottle-in=front=of-me”. So far I've gone to bed in tears only one night but the future holds no guarantees. One week down and two to go.

Sondra Ashton
HDN: Looking out my back door

August 7, 2014

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