So, like any self-respecting, upright, honest and upstanding woman, on this visit I bring 2 singing stuffed animals, 2 books, 2 lollipops, and a bag of my famous chocolate chip oatmeal bars.
They may not remember me, but by God, they will like me!
I arrive at their 1-week vacation cottage, a place where they’ve never seen me, so they could be even more confused about who I am and how I fit into the scheme of things. But as soon as I enter the front door, I’m greeted with “Madre! Come see my room!” “Madre, look at my car!” “Madre, can I have my pop now?” “Madre, let’s play outside!”
I breathe a sigh of relief as they cuddle with me, sit on my lap while I read stories, play with my sparkling earrings, and stroke my face like a blind person making sure my lips, eyes, nose have remained in place.
I want to be the good Madre, because after this week, I won’t see them again for at least three more months.
So when they jump on the couch, I bite my lip.
When they eat their lollipops and touch the doorknobs with their sticky fingers, I only let an ‘ugh’ escape.
When Sophie brushes my hair and pulls too hard on a curl, I just laugh.
Until bed time.
The three of us are sharing the room – Sophie and I are in the double, Clark in his own little futon. The clock is pushing 10 and I’m exhausted, but Clark is yet again sneaking out of the room like a little munchkin looking for Oz.
“Clark!” I yell, scaring the poor kid into scampering back to his bed like a bird into his cage.
“That’s enough!” I continue. “Bed! Time!”
Sophie jumps out of her side of the bed and stands in front of me, chest puffed, hands held above her head.
“Madre, Madre!” she exclaims dramatically, moving her arms from the up position to below her waist. “C a l m D O W N! Just C A L M d o w n.”
“But…!” I begin to protest. But then I realize, what the hell, she’s right!
And I laugh.
And continue to be the good Madre the rest of the week.