When this recently happened to me I shouted the word “Yikes” aloud (or last least in my mind) and sprang into action on top of my already busy schedule – I am a students at Jacksonville State University this summer.
A few days later, during a short rest, I analyzed my flurry of activity. I discovered that everything I had done after the phone call was in preparation for the children’s arrival. I grabbed my laptop computer and decided to create a David-Letterman-like list of top ten things I always do leading up to their visit.
Here they are:
10. I prepare to apologize for telling the kids during their last visit that they either gained weight, lost hair, or bought the wrong car.
9. I grab the duster because I realize the house hasn’t been dusted since the day before the last time they came home. (I’m the same mom who used to confiscate my teenagers’ car keys when their rooms were dirty.)
8. I notice that the grandchildren have outgrown last year’s toys. I head to see what is new and age-appropriate at the department store.
7. I wonder if there is anything going on around town they might like to do. Where’s ‘The Star’s” calendar section?
6. I cut the grass again so that a snake can’t hide in it. This year’s rain and heat have produced grass that grows three inches a day.
5. I call an editor and postpone a deadline.
4. Like in the old days, I discipline myself against lounging around the house in my pajamas.
3. I make sure the visiting grandchildren’s pictures have a place of importance on my shelves, with equal shelf position for all of the children and grandchildren.
2. I wonder if I changed the bed sheets after the last houseguests left?
1. I panic because my refrigerator contains only a few store-bought, frozen dinners and a Styrofoam, take-home box with a half-eaten baked potato and a few bites of grilled chicken breast.
I should be exhausted with the wave of activity that goes with these “yikes” moments, but I am not tired in spite of getting up early and staying up late in preparation. Instead, I continue to work. I wipe surfaces I had not noticed were dirty. I tap the thermostat down to a lower setting because my running around the house makes me sweat. Also, I notify the other local kinfolks that the kids will be in town. Do they want to come over?
Mostly, though, I cannot quit smiling because I know that the kids’ visit means that they still love me enough to spend their valuable vacation time with me. That alone is worth the bump in the grocery bill and the fatigue I will feel after they are gone.
These wild and crazy few days I will spend with my loved ones help me forget that I will cry again when they pull out of the driveway. My tears won’t last long, though, because I am already planning my next visit to see them. They can then have the “yikes” moments.
Email Sherry at email@example.com.