Last night I had to excuse myself from the supper table much too early because I call BINGO at the nursing home on Tuesday nights. As I started up the car, parked along the curb just in front of my parents’ house, I looked back at the house to see the Christmas tree framed in the front window, and beyond that, my parents, my brother, my husband, and my two children gathered around the dining room table. A wave of gratitude swept over me, and I couldn’t stop smiling. I am just so…very…grateful to be here, in Kansas, with our families, to gather around meals together, to linger, to share the mundane, especially this time of year.
Did I ever tell you how we announced to my parents that we were planning a move to Kansas? I can’t remember. But even if I did, it’s worth repeating. It was one of the more profound, emotional, magical moments that I’ve ever experienced.
It was June. Lillian had just been born. My dad had been in Chicago with us for the past week and a half, waiting for her arrival. My mom flew in a few days after the birth, and we couldn’t contain our news another minute. (We had pretty much known since Mother’s Day.) We sat around the living room: mom and dad on the couch, Jeff and I on the love seat, Charlieboy running around the coffee table and playing with his trains. I cleared my throat and said, “We need to talk.” My parents got serious. I continued, “We have a proposition for you. Dad, you’ve been such a good nanny while you’ve been here. So we’re wondering if you would like to do that a couple days a week for us when we move to Newton.”
And then “Nuh-uh. Nuh-uh. Nuh-uh.”
And tears. And squeals. And “Wha-? Why? Are you serious? Wha-?!?”
It was everything I had hoped it would be. And after living with them for 3 1/2 months now, I think they’re still thrilled by our news.
Last night my mom brought Charlie to the nursing home to help with BINGO. He was fantastic. One of the residents, Roland, said it’s good to start them early. Ha! On our drive home afterward, Charlie and I were singing songs together. This may be my favorite thing about this age. Even though I can’t sing worth beans, and Charlie can’t carry much of a tune yet, he doesn’t mind and I don’t mind, so we both sing loud and proud. (My friend Cassie used to tell me, “If you can’t sing good, sing loud.” I’ve listened!) Charlie saw a Christmas-light star and was so excited, requesting that we sing “Tinkle, tinkle.” So we did. Then Charlie talked about how he couldn’t see the star anymore, and declared, “It have eyes and dat how it see us.” Next we sang “Jesus Loves Me.” Less than a line into the song, Charlie let out a little chuckle and said, “Well I wuv wu!” And my little heart melted all to bits.