Let me say it was never my intention to babysit four of my grandchildren at once. First, my son texted on Wednesday requesting I babysit his two girls (7 & 6) on Friday night. I texted back, “Sure,” making that a done deal. Later that evening, my youngest daughter (who lives on the opposite end of town) asked if I could see about her six-year-old daughter on Saturday from about 9 -3. The three cousins love each other and it seemed the practical thing was to bring the six-year-old with me when I went to sit at my son’s home. Friday afternoon, my daughter called to ask if I would also keep her one-year-old daughter. I confess to a long pause before replying, “the more the merrier right?”
Without further ado, these are some of the things that got said:
“Don’t pick up the baby!”
“Take that out of your mouth!”
“Don’t give her that!”
“Do you know the meaning of tattle-tale?”
“No hiding upstairs.”
“Put the baby down!”
“If anybody else tattles, you’re all going to take a nap!”
“Don’t spin the baby around!”
“Stop standing on the chair!”
“Would your mother let you do that?”
“How did you break it?”
“Because I’m the adult!”
“No, you can’t go home.”
“Put the baby down.”
“Nobody likes a tattle-tale!”
“What were you thinking?”
“Call me again, but not for a few weeks!”
Special guest comment from the kid’s grandmother. “He’s watching them all at once? Oh my!”
When I was a youth in Minneapolis, MN, my grandmother would pick my brothers and I up to go to Sunday School and Church at 9:00 every Sunday. She told us that she would be there at 9:00 and if we weren’t ready, she would leave us. I don’t know what would actually happen if we were late because during the dozen or so years it applied. We were never late.
Throughout life I have ranked timeliness somewhere between cleanliness and Godliness and have done my best to be on time everywhere for everything. I recognize that there are some events where it is “socially acceptable” to arrive late, that doesn’t prevent me from establishing my own determination of what is late and abiding by it. Only one thing keeps me from being on time for absolutely everything… other people.
It seems that the people who have played the biggest roles in my life have no appreciation for time. I still have hope for my own grandchildren who have not yet been corrupted by their parents who should know better. I have resigned myself that showing up on time for birthday parties, social affairs, pretty much everything, is a futile effort and spending time in my life I’ll never get back.
You’d think as time passed this would be less of a problem? Before my grandmother passed, our family organized an appreciation dinner at a hotel where her friends and family could acknowledge how important she’d been in their lives. I’d flown into town and was staying at her home, along with my mother and one of my brothers. That she was being honored was a surprise to her, she thought she was attending an event having to do with me. She suffered from diabetes and was mostly blind, yet she rushed us all to get ready and out the door so that we wouldn’t be late. If she’d gotten her way, we’d have all arrived at the hotel at noon for a 2 pm event. The future doesn’t bode well for me in terms of caring less about time.
I am who I am and accept it. The others in my life are who they are and I’m trying to grudgingly accept that as well. I still arrive at work 15-minutes early every day, on the rare day I’m only 5–10 minutes early… I’m late. I’m the only one that cares, except of course my grandmother who’s looking down smiling.