My Mom left today, after spending a week here with us. She started coming down, from the home she shares with my Dad and sister near Philadelphia, PA, the week after Baby was born. Since then, she has come down countless times, spending a week at a time. Last summer, she spent nearly the entire summer with us.
Our house isn’t exactly big enough for a family of three and a guest. We can’t even offer her a room to herself; we’ve got two bedrooms and both are in use. So she sleeps on our couch. Not once when I was growing up did I ever even dare to think that one day, my Mom would be sleeping on my couch. But she does. And she doesn’t complain. Not even for a second.
In the early days, I anxiously counted down the days until Mom’s arrival. Her presence was comforting when I felt clueless as to how to care for this helpless little human.
These days, I still look forward to her visits. The little perks are endless. I grow happily out of touch with my dishwasher as Mom, a strong advocate for a clean sink, loads the dirty dishes that I drop in the sink as I’m running to and fro and then later empties the dishwasher, resourcefully figuring out where all of my dishes live . I make dinner in relative peace as Baby and Mom play in the living room. M and I get to go out to have dinner, see a movie, or take a luxuriously wandering trip to the grocery store. More simply just gets done when the adult to child ratio is 3 to 1.
But the time we all spend with her outweighs those perks. Now that Baby is moving (constantly) and talking (endlessly) I got to clearly see her bonding with Mom. This was the first time that Baby could even come close to saying ‘Grandmom’ and it probably tops the list of Baby’s most-used words for last week. The warmth I feel in my heart as I watch my mother and my daughter bonding over the crazy facial configurations of Mr. Potato head is something I just could not have comprehended 2 years ago. By the middle of last week, Baby would wake up from her nap talking about Grandmom and I’m certain that when I get home today, she’ll be asking where Grandmom is. My relationship with my own grandparents was weird and not something I look back on with any particularly strong memories. I’m thrilled that this will be different for Baby.
And then there is the time I get to spend with Mom. It’s so lovely to sit on my couch with her, after Baby is in bed, and catch up, gossip, and generally talk for hours about any little thing. I haven’t lived with her for over 10 years but that is what I miss the most – being able to wander into a room and sit and talk with her about anything.
Our house feels properly full and lively when Mom is here. It will feel empty when I get home this afternoon.