CHAPTER 17 – WHAT MIGHT HAPPEN IF I DON’T GO
My hardworking husband has now and then been known to work hard enough to win us a spot in the company’s annual business/reward trip, to a warm and sometimes exotic location. And sometimes those locations are too hot for me to handle. I’ve mentioned his daughter Andrea accompanying him to South Beach, Miami, when it sweltered, and Monica going with him to an island sizzling in the Caribbean sun, but I haven’t explained what really happened.
Monica, a young mom who spends a lot of time raising her two children alone because her husband works “up north” as we say in Canada, referring to that vast part of the country north of any properly-populated areas, had originally been invited on the Miami trip with Dick. When she required major surgery and couldn’t go, her sister happily stepped into the breach and had a wonderful time.
I appreciated staying home from Miami at the end of May/beginning of June. In fact, I appreciated it so much that when Monica, fully recovered from her surgery, had another opportunity to travel with her dad a year later, I lost all sense of proportion, forgot all the things of which I’m incapable, and volunteered to do something impossible.
It wasn’t my fault. Fate, in the form of a potential plague, stepped in. Dick and Monica were supposed to go to the Mayan Riviera at the end of May, but the 2009 swine-flu scare (later known as H1N1) caused many airlines to cancel their flights to Cancun. Then, Monica’s husband was unable to change his days off when Dick’s trip was switched from May to June, and from Mexico to the Dominican Republic. I really wanted Monica to have a nice holiday. I’d been to the D.R., enjoyed it, and wanted her to enjoy it, too. So I offered to stay with her two children for a week. Bad choice of babysitter.
I haven’t mentioned it, because the subject hasn’t come up, but I’m an amateur at this grandmothering thing. I love it, but I’m not necessarily good at it. I didn’t have children of my own, but am thrilled to have become a grandmother by marrying a man with many daughters. I love the grandchildren all to bits, and I’m pretty sure they love me back. But there are certain realities about which I didn’t think, and therefore certain questions I neglected to ask. For instance: “Is the 3-year-old potty-trained?” and, more to the point: “If she isn’t, is she amenable to having her diaper changed by someone other than her mother?”
The answer to both questions turned out to be a resounding no.
“Well,” said Dick, pragmatically, “I’ll just phone and tell Monica you can’t do it.”
“No,” I said, foolishly stubborn or stubbornly foolish, “I volunteered, and I’m not about back out.”
Foolish pride, is what that is. Walked right into it. Put my foot in it, so to speak. Hoist by my own petard, one might add. Too big for my britches, my grandmother might have said but, in this case, it was Kiana’s britches.
Sigh. Deep, heartfelt sigh.
I won’t go deeper into the subject, because screaming children aren’t particularly entertaining, and while the sight of me pulling out my hair might make my siblings (and perhaps my husband) laugh uproariously, it really wasn’t funny. But you can tell I survived, because here I am at my keyboard, telling you about it, and I still love the grandchildren and they still love me.
Just don’t do what I did.
If you have the opportunity for a holiday in a climate you simply can’t handle (rather than one you merely find somewhat less than salubrious), by all means stay home.
Stay home and relax.
Stay home and catch up on things.
Stay home and e-mail your friends all day.
Just don’t start feeling guilty about turning down the trip. Avoid letting guilt put you in the position of doing something for which your unfittedness makes you completely unequipped.
Been there, done that, won’t do it again.
I had recovered from the experience some six weeks later, however, and dropped in to have coffee with Monica when I was in the area.
She answered the door with Kiana at her side. “Oh, no!” exclaimed Kiana, “what’s Grandma doing here again?”
I’m glad I was recovered enough to laugh.