As soon as the words were out of my mouth, I wanted to jump after them like fireflies in a dark sky, placing them in a glass jar with the lid shut tight.
Instead, the offer to babysit flew away from me and into my son’s grateful hand.
“Thanks, Mom. We’ll drop them off at 6. We won’t be more than an hour. 7:30 okay?”
7:30? What happened to an easy hour with three little boys: 1½, 3, and 4½? Just enough time to give them a cookie, read them a book, and offer a bottle and a sippy cup before their mom and dad retrieved them.
“Oh no!” I said loudly on his way out the door.
My son stopped, his happy expression changing like a cloud crossing the bright sun.
A bright son who didn’t ask me, “Oh no, what?” but instead stated, “Gotta go” and raced away.
But my guy heard me from the kitchen, where I think he was secretly hiding, hoping I’d not say yes to us watching the cute, crazy, untamed little grandbabies.
“Oh no, what?” he asked.
“I forgot I’m teaching from 5-6:30. You’ll have the kids to yourself for a half an hour before I get home.”
I’d like to stitch that comment onto a piece of linen, frame it, and hang it on our kitchen wall.
Because when I arrived home from my class the next night, Mr. “I Can Handle” was screaming “Help!” from the bathroom, while our dog stood by the front door, his legs practically crossed in a need to go outside and pee.
A dozen picture books lay like rocks over a running river in the living room, interspersed with toy trucks, trains, and automobiles.
Over the sound of bath water running in the tub, I yelled “I’m taking the dog out.” I could barely hear his reply over the too-high volume on the TV cartoon station. The 4½ -year-old sat inches away from the screen with mouth open and a spilled milk cup nearby.
We had vowed upon the birth of our first grandchild that we’d never use TV as a babysitter.
The 3-year-old raced toy cars atop the antique wood table, sippy cup nearby.
“They didn’t leave diapers!” my man yelled over the youngest toddler’s laughs and splashing sounds. “This little squirt had a dirty one, so the tub’s the only safe place to keep him.”
I wanted to ask so many questions, but instead ran outside with the dog and the 3-year-old for a doggie bathroom break.