Southern Comfort

Phew, I am back home.

After going to Ohio for a long week and then coming back to South Carolina, to babysit at one of my son’s houses, I am finally home.

I am glad.

It is wonderful to see family and watch grandchildren, but it is also mighty, might fine to be home.

It is one thing to say that home is where your heart is, but me? I am glad that home is where my butt is.

The good part of the last two weeks was visiting people I don’t see much, anymore. That is what happens when you move away. And as much as I enjoy seeing people, I get flummoxed when I am not staying in my own digs.

I remember when Nick’s mom would visit from Cleveland. She would complain about one thing or another and part of her complaints had to do with not being able to go to the bathroom. I found that to be a bit too much information for me. I mean, you just go poop, for pete’s sakes.

And then she would get antsy about 20 seconds after she got her and would want to start rearranging my kitchen and doing the laundry and pulling weeds. Why couldn’t she just sit still, I wondered.

She was ancient then. (about 55) She didn’t really want to do much except make my house like hers. I didn’t mind her cleaning. It was more that I thought she was judging me.

And she was.

I later learned that she would go back to Cleveland and give her sister and my sister-in-law, the lo-down of what she perceived was going on in our house, which really was us, trying to raise 4 kids. But I felt the judgment.

The fact was, I was never myself around her. She scared me and at times, made me feel less than welcome. I had taken her baby to Cincinnati. I looked at her askew and she looked at me askew. It took years and years before she and I realized that neither of us was the enemy.

Sort of.

I am sure that she would have been happier if Nick had married a nice Cleveland girl who knew what a pierogi was, and they had stayed in Cleveland, and, if that girl would have been Catholic.

Staying at someone else’s house, for me, is stressful. I can’t really relax. I don’t really relaxin in hotel rooms, either. I only relax in my own house. I have become a creature of morning habits and nightly routines. I like to sit in my own chairs, go through cupboards that are familiar to me and sleep in my own bed.

So, now I know how my mother-in-law felt, except the bit of hostility that I wasn’t a Catholic Cleveland girl.

And let’s talk babysitting grandkids.

First rule. If babysitting two children … keep two children alive. That means keep them safe from others and safe from each other.

Second rule. Stay sane. Stay calm. Stay cool. And don’t overreact. Each of those has a learning curve. I used to think I had to react to everything, you know, old hawked, here. But I found that isn’t the best, at least for me. Yes, I watch and listen, but I try to digest and choose my battles.

Third rule. Play up your short comings so that they feel sorry for you. Since they think anyone over 30 is old, use it to your advantage. Play the old card when it comes to fetching, climbing on counters to reach the top shelf, finding that roll of paper towels, etc. But don’t let them think you are totally daft or you will be in for it.

Fourth rule. Keep chocolate in your bedroom and use it for your own sanity.

Fifth rule. Learn the term “Organic.” If necessary, tell the parents your ordered Papa John’s Organic pizza.

Sixth rule. Make bedtime the best time. Sit on the bed and let them talk. It is the keeper moment of the day.

Seventh rule. Remember the hugs, sweet voices and time you get to spend with them.

And kiss the ground you walk on when you get home.

Life wouldn’t be the same without the opportunity to do all of these things, would it? They are the icing on the apple fritter. But I do enjoy eating my apple fritters, mostly while sitting in my own chair.

Welcome home to me!






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