Just Our Little Secret

GPS, My 7-year-old granddaughter Sophie shakes her head at me in loving mocking distress. “Madre, really? You’re lost again?”

I had hoped she couldn’t tell. After all, she’s in the back seat of my SUV, munching on the brownie I gave her, looking through her bag to see if she remembered to pack her ballet shoes.

Every Tuesday I do this. In fact, she reminds me of this fact now. “Madre, how many times have you driven me to ballet school?”

I curse softly under my breath. Since September. I pick her up from school once a week at 3:45 and sign her out of her after-school class, beaming at the way she jumps for joy when she sees me walk through the door. She shares whatever snack they’re eating: graham crackers, gold fish, today chowder crackers, and then she races to the hallway to pick up her backpack. driving directions, granddaughter talk

While doing all of the above, Sophie chatters like a Bohemian parrot: “Did you know that Calamity Jane was friends with Wild Bill Hickok? She was a true American frontierswoman.”

On and on she goes. Her energy reverberates up my spine, through my scalp, and into my soul.

“I’m not going to use Suzie today,” I bravely suggest to Sophie as I start the car this afternoon. The drive from her school to the ballet studio is 6.2 minutes, according to Suzie, my phone’s talking GPS.

Sophie rolls her pretty blue eyes and chuckles.

Calamity JaneWhile I drive Suzie-less, Sophie goes on and on about her drama class, in which she’s practicing her role as Calamity Jane. We discuss the definitions of “calamity,” and 11 minutes later, I mumble something.

“What?” Sophie asks.

“I’m lost,” I admit.

Sophie sighs, not judgmentally, but with a twisted smile. “Better turn on Suzie.”

“Just promise me one thing,” I beg as I meander down streets I’ve never seen before, hoping to find a my little secret, shhhhdriveway where I can stop and turn on the verbal map directions.

“Sure,” Sophie responds immediately.

“Let’s not tell anyone I got lost again, okay? Just our little secret.”

Sophie smirks. “Okay.”

The next day, I get a text from Sophie’s other grandmother. “Saw Sophie today; first thing she said to me was ‘Madre got lost going to ballet!’”

A day later, I heard from my daughter that Sophie’s 3-year-old little brother had a new mantra that day: “Madre got lost! Madre got lost! Madre got lost.”

secrets, shhhh

So much for my little secret.



104 thoughts on “Just Our Little Secret

  1. Pam, although not the same thing but similar, I got lost every 3 to 6 months with my daughter from age 13 to age 18. I was 43 to age 48.
    Not an age thing, but a talking and being absorbed in the moment thing, I feel. 🙂 Felicia was diagnosed with JRA and most if our trips were my driving her from Delaware, Ohio to Children’s Hospital for blood tests, MRI’s and to see Dr. Gloria Higgins. On many trips we were in rather shady neighborhoods, pulling over to ask various people how to get there. On our last visit, we were on the highway and Felicia had “googled” the directions (12 years ago, still no GPS for us!) We made it there in half the time! 🙂 She was sent out into the world, which we both cried, with Dr. Higgins being a little teary eyed, too. Although most children’s hospitals allow the patients to stay until 21, she and many were being sent off to the Columbus Arthritis Center. At age 13, she was diagnosed with the joints of a 65 year old. Now, when I get “ache-y” I think of those times and realize with chuckles they were our happiest moments, giggling with her saying, “We’re lost AGAIN?!”


  2. OMG that is so precious. I have a few driving episodes with my grandchildren too. I think it was the seven-year-old who said, as I drove her to the library, “There is a shorter way you know.” Oops. I also took my grandson out to a parade, a fun park, for ice cream and later a subway sandwich and on the way home, I accidently cut off a car, one that happened to be a police officer. He pulled me over and gave me a warning. The minute grandson returned home, he did not mention all the fun things we did, but instead said, “Gramma cut off a cop.” They are not good at keeping secrets.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Your granddaughter sounds delightful, but I guess you can’t trust her with a secret. 🙂
    I can get lost anywhere–getting off an elevator, for example.
    My husband changed the voice on his phone’s GPS to a woman with a British accent. I named her Annabel.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. A reverberating message kept coming back to me as I read through your entertaining, yet thought-provoking post, Pamela. It’s on the side of my wife’s Jeep, and I’m sure most everyone has heard it sometime in their lives.

    It applies to geography on a map as much as it does geography of our hearts, minds, and souls. And it just seems so appropriate for this very moment.

    Not all who wander are lost 🙂


  5. What a treasure. I love that kids don’t analyze or filter everything like adults do. She sounds delightful.
    When my first granddaughter was around five, I thought I’d play a little piece on the piano for the girls, but I struggled. She said, “Grandma, I think this is too hard for you.” I was dismissed. Ha ha ha.


    • You make me feel much better, Susan. I’m sure if we’re driving together, we’ll enjoy the experience of being lost together. That’s when you’ll find the best things to photograph and I’ll find the best stories to write about.


  6. I guess it was too juicy to keep to herself! 🙂 My husband, who can fix anything and is a whiz at mechanical and electrical things — and is a highly trained and much beloved physician — is directionally challenged too. It’s just something missing in the wiring, and it makes me furious when anyone gets impatient with him. He just can’t help it.


  7. A charming bit of conversation, reminding us all that children can’t keep secrets. I once bumped into an old, rusted truck that came to a stop where it shouldn’t have, and my son told everyone about my driving talents for the next week!


  8. Of course, she told! Ha ha. You have another 25 years at least before your secrets are safe with her 🙂 My husband thinks the Overlord can keep secrets (like that grampy gave him a chocolate bar). Clearly, he’s delusional. 😀


  9. Lovely story. I envy you your task, even if you do get lost; you have time together. Mine are all 700 miles away. I’ve actually never understood people who get lost easily. My mother, for example. She’s discovered that her problem is that she automatically turns right. No matter what. Often while driving, always while walking. Coming out of a store, she just turns right and walks. Only later will she realize she needed to go left. Surely there’s a support group?


    • My guy is just like you, Janet. He will drive to a place he knows nothing about once, and then if he doesn’t return to it for 20 years, he’ll know exactly how to get there the next time. You have the good directional gene!


  10. Haaa! Awesome story, Pam. Your secret is safe here 😀 Whenever i’m driving I say to hubby ‘I have an uncanny sense of direction’ and he thinks it’s hilarious. I rarely get lost, but when I do EVERYONE knows about it. Maybe I should just admit that I don’t really have an uncanny sense of direction 😀


  11. Cute! You didn’t really expect her to keep a secret, did you? I’m a bit concerned about children being asked to keep secrets. It’s not always a good thing. Harmless fun in your case though. 🙂


  12. This made me laugh 🙂 Not much of a secret keeper yet is she – but if it’s out, you might as well share it with the rest of us, right? Thanks Sophie 🙂 I’m utterly useless with directions, especially when I have others talking to me – I get so easily distracted. I remember a job interview I was ages early for – or so I thought – and ended up walking in just as they were calling my name. The first thing I said was, ‘I didn’t mean to be on time!’ They laughed! Of course I meant, ‘I meant to be early!’ Love, H xxx


  13. Is ‘Madre’ in commonplace usage for Grandma in the States? And they eat goldfish at Sophie’s school?

    Gratifying though that someone else gets lost easily. Even after living in a 9 x 5 island for 39 years I quite often get flummoxed in a country lane 😦

    Liked by 1 person

    • My daughter spent her college junior year in Italy, and ever after has named me “Madre.” Thus, it only seemed fitting that her children do the same.
      I think you should write a book entitled “Flummoxed in a Country Lane.” Has a great ring to it, doesn’t it? 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Ah, those little ragamuffins will sell you out as soon as look at ya.

    It took me a little while to accept GPS into my life, but now that I have my Map Lady, I can’t imagine my life without her. (That said, I still have no plans to throw out the ratty New Jersey road atlas nesting in my glove box.)

    Liked by 1 person

  15. One of my daughters lives in Rockville, MD. Since I live on the other coast in the Seattle area, finding my way around the northern suburbs of Washington, DC is a nightmare. In Seattle, unless it’s foggy, you only have to drive around until you see the Cascade Mts. on the east, Mt. Rainier to the south, Puget Sound to the west or Mr. Baker to the north to know which way you’re going. But around Washington, DC, it’s all flatness and ring roads. Last time I was visiting, I had to take my seven-year-old grandson to a make-up Spanish class in another town. It was raining so hard, I couldn’t hear my phone’s directions or see much out the window. I can’t believe I got us there safely.


    • You should have received gold stars for driving in MD/DC area. I know – impossible to find anything there (my brother lives in MD). We ‘non-directional souls’ need good landmarks like mountains on one side, an ocean on the other, to know what’s up and what’s down. 🙂


  16. HILARIOUS! My mom tells a similar story. She was taking my eldest to a minor league ballgame, but having only recently moved back to the area she hadn’t realized that the team relocated. Apparently arriving at the now defunct / re-purposed stadium, mom was forced to pull out a map. When he got home the very first thing he told me was how his Nana had gotten them lost in the spooky woods.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. That is adorable! Well maybe not for Madre but I can totally see it happening to me in future years. My GPS and I are thick as thieves. I now need it to find my way around my own house. Well a slight exaggeration but not by much. Loved this story. Still chuckling.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Such fun spending time with grandkids. I used to wonder what all the fuss was about until I became a grandmother myself. How fortunate that you live handy enough to your grandchildren to be able to drive them places (and to get lost! 😉 ). That’s such a wonderful gift!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I love being close by to these grandkids – even if it means I get lost at least once a week. 🙂 Yes, I never thought I’d even ADMIT to being a grandmother, much less talk about it in my blog for goodness sake. :-0 Enjoy yours!

      Liked by 1 person

  19. Dontcha just love kiddos? 😀
    I love her name for you also… where did she come up with Madre? Or did another grandchild name you? I know grandkids are such a delight. I don’t have any but my new baby nieces and nephews feel like they are! 😉


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