Grace went home to her mother. And I woke up feeling about 75 lbs lighter. I’m on a 48-hour furlough from parenthood. I know I haven’t even put in a full week of maternal living. Despite the short duration, I feel like a giddy sailor pulling into her favorite port for a weekend adventure… my home. This is my frontyard in full bloom.
Don’t get me wrong, I love my great niece. Grace is a creative, energetic little gal. She has a big personality that needs varying degrees of containment in social settings. She doesn’t have my childhood benefit of three sisters, close enough in age, that added an informal dimension to my character shaping.
I still remember the moment Christy curtailed my natural desire to make public inquiries with an under-the-breath, ‘don’t you dare ask a question.‘ Jenny taught me not to dawdle by adhering to a strict 3:18pm departure policy. (School ended at 3:17pm. After being left behind on numerous occasions, I started wearing my coat and all my belongings to eighth period.) Cindy showed me that if you’re quiet and cute, someone will automatically hand you a popsicle.
And when you have three siblings in a 5-year span, you don’t expect high concentration of attention. ‘How was your day?‘ requires a quick response because it’s going around the table for complete family participation. Your outfits are scanned for functionality. The cursory inspection means things get overlooked. I attended church once without panties and once wearing my mom’s underwear. I also recall the mortifying moment in 4th grade when during the Pledge of Allegiance, Tom Folger pointed out that my dress was unzipped. The sixties and seventies wasn’t about helicopter parenting. It was more like cropduster plane parenting, cover as much ground as you can and see what sprouts.
So, for my barren day ahead, I’m going to get in a hard sweaty workout, a long salty soak, and dinner & a play with friends. These are important components in my restoration plan in preparation for theatre camp – Act 2.