Friday, January 22, 2016

My Daughter's Day Off

My elder daughter has three children, one with special needs.  Since his birth, her life has been one of constant care, anxiety, and work.  The little boy, now 15 months, was born with the rarest of genetic disorders that a generation ago would have killed him within days.  Now, due to newborn screening and constant vigilance, this little kid has a chance of a very good life.  My daughter, however, has not slept a single night for two years, has eliminated dairy and egg from her diet because of his allergies, and has learned how to cook almost exclusively with coconut oil to accommodate his disorder.  So, I thought for Christmas I would give her what she most needs: time to herself.

I made her a little basket with gift cards and items to use while shopping or on her personal care.  Yesterday she took her "Day Off" and put me in charge for one day of her kids and her household. I drove the little girl to school and the older, homeschooled girl, to her PE session at the community center. An hour later, I picked her up and drove her home. My daughter handed me the baby and left -  not without some anxiety about taking a day for herself.

I homeschooled my older granddaughter while I chopped veggies for a Crockpot soup for dinner. Her brother woke early from his nap and I prepared his special foods.  His disorder affects the way his body digests certain fats and the only fat safe for him is coconut oil.  So I prepared his dry peanut butter with his special oil and made him his sandwich. I washed his fruit and cut it up for him. All the while I listened to my granddaughter recite her math problems. I cooked burritos for lunch using my daughter's raw tortilla shells.  I burned the first one. 

I read and re-read a single book to my grandson, took countless items from his curious little hands, and followed him around the house.  While he sat playing with some toys I was able to unload the dishwasher but not load it again.  I wiped down surfaces in the kitchen and picked up some of the fallen food from around the highchair.

When it was time to pick up the little girl from playschool, I bundled my grandson up against the cold, strapped him into his carseat and took off.  Following that, I spent about 40 minutes in the playground at the school and while the girls played, I followed after my grandson, he got into the sand, wanted repeated lifts to the slide and enjoyed swinging for a bit.

On the drive home I listened while the older girl whined and sulked about the behavior of a little boy half her age on the playground. Back at home it was time to do some serious chores and I set the girls to work folding laundry while I put a dark load in to run.  I changed the boy, set him up with some toys, and for five minutes got to load the dishwasher again. 

Finally, I got the baby back down for a nap and got each girl settled in separate rooms to watch their favorite shows.  I swept the kitchen, wiped the table, fixed the folded laundry the four-year-old had stuffed into the linen closet and seasoned the soup.  It was nearly four o'clock and I hadn't sat down all day.

My hat is off to all you moms who do this every day!  Whether you work a job or work at home, you are responsible for a lot that no one ever sees or thanks you for.  So, thank you!  I hope you get a day off soon.

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