Tripping Through Life (with Dr. Seuss*)
I knew it. I knew it. I knew that by coming here and taking care of my three rambunctious grandkids I would be entering a time machine and going back in time. And it's happened! Despite my arthritis, nasty knees, lower back pain and fatitude (just coined a new word; you like it?), I am growing backwards into childhood, or rather into being a (younger-like) parent, complete with lacking sleep and not having time to shower for days(don't get too close) caring for three kids under nine.The fine-toothed comb of Time marches.
Through the scalp of Life
I'd forgotten what it's like: getting kids UP in the morning, getting them washed and dressed (they can do some or most of it themselves, except for the one with the cast on her right arm...) and fed, getting the bathing suits on and slathering them up with sunscreen and putting the change-of-clothes and towels in the backpack and making sure their lunchboxes are also in and that everything is LABELED with their names on it.
And making breakfast every morning (No, I want EGGS and GRITS I don't want cereal) and contending with the "I want to play first" or the "I don't want to get dressed" or the HE'S COPYING ME or SHE STUCK HER TONGUE OUT AT ME tell her to STOP it or I DON'T LIKE THAT CHEESE SANDWICH FOR LUNCH I WANT MEATBALLS AND PUSGETTI etc., etc.
And then, off to camp! Late, almost every morning (our faults: 'we haven't gotten it down pat yet,' 'lack of sleep, gettin' older,' 'no energy'--you know the excuses). Then after drop-off, running home to either 1) walk the dog (chihuahua. cute. fits in pocket. attacks squirrels and large animals), 2) wash dishes and clean-up kitchen, and 3) run around house picking up after whirlwind of morning prep with p.j.s and various pieces of clothing all over the floors, 4) make sure we turned on light and fed MONSTRO the WHALE (the goldfish) and make sure the ELEPHANT named TWEETIE-BIRD has food and water (the chihuahua. Get it?)
And when we pick them up from camp, it's the same thing in reverse, not necessarily in this order: 1) supper 2) therapies 3) baths 4) bedtime
But somewhere in between, there are wonderful brachot over the food (the kids love saying brachot), Shabbat--which was the best day of the week, with delicious meals we (mainly my husband) prepared, my grandson (with Down Syndrome) standing with his Saba and copying him making kiddush, washing for hamotzi and enjoying the specialness of the day, walking to shul in the morning all dressed up, having a cholent kiddush after davening (it was the yummiest I've had in a long while, loaded with meat), and coming home to another yummy seudah sheniyah, singing zmirot and playing board games later; it was a relaxed, special day.
The only damper was that we did not get to nap; by the end of the day, I was exhausted.
The entire day we were stuck in the house--so we couldn't swim in our pool and we couldn't visit the neighbors with the 10 kids who have chickens in their backyard--because since we arrived, the weather barely varied: it rained and thunderstormed every day for a week, including Shabbat. We were lucky there was a lull so that we could walk to shul and back, but that was it! Talk about cabin fever. . .(but it was still a great day!)
But all the discussions I've had, especially with my 6 year-old granddaughter about what she likes to play, and friends, and satellites ('what are they?'), and Benjamin Franklin and electricity, and learning to be ambidextrous-she is using her left hand for everything, and as a result of her cast, stopped sucking her thumb-and learning to say that word and what it means--and about life in general--and all the stories I've read to all the kids, and the songs I've sung (numi numi, lailah lailah, and saying the 'shema' and 'ha-mal'ach' with the three kids every night)--Priceless.
I fear this trip is going to end all too soon; but until it does, although-
The dull, blunt needle of Time
Sews another button on a sadly worn pair of underdrawers,
I still climb Mount Everest just as often as I used to. I play polo just as often as I used to. But to walk down to the hardware store I find a little bit more difficult.
You're in pretty good shape
for the shape you are in!
(*all quotes from Suess-isms by Dr. Seuss's widow, Audrey Geisel)