Living long distance from the kids tends to make me worry.  I don’t know why, but I always have been and always will be a worrier – just ask my husband.  I especially worry about flying, but if that’s what it takes to see my families, then I suck it up and fly.   And once I’m with my family, all’s well.  At least, I like to think so.  Don’t ask my kids, though.  I think they have a far different view of “MoMo’s” visit than I do.

Take my most recent trip to Tampa to see my daughter Alyssa and my grandkids, Tristan and Clover.  I went there not only because I get homesick for them, but to help out my daughter while her husband is deployed.  Besides wanting to spoil my grands and take Lyss out to eat once or twice – or five or six times – I made it my mission to help out as much as possible.  Lyss wanted the bathroom painted.  I LOVE to paint.  Her dad always complained that the square footage of our house we lived in diminished by inches because of the amount of paint layers on them.  While my desire to paint has now been tempered by a bad knee, hip and a loss of height, I couldn’t reach up as high as “normal,” even with a ladder.  No biggie, though.  I decided to leave the two inches at the top of the wall for Alyssa to paint.  Guess my memory is getting bad – how could I forget that the reason I was there because she has absolutely no time to do anything extra. So the bathroom is two-toned for now.  Sorry, Lyss!

Next, I tackled toys.  I put all the tiny pieces together in one box from dollhouses, Lincoln Logs, NumNoms, mini-Disney princesses (everyone ever invented) and their complete wardrobes, SkyPals, and everything else that is created under two inches intended for small children; I sorted boxed games by whether they were educational or purely for fun; put construction paper, coloring books, water color paints, paint-by-number, play-do, play-do cookie cutters, glue, colored pencils, colored pens, gel pens, sparkly gel pens, and other arts and crafts that I had no idea what to do with all together on a play table in nice neat boxes; Ipads, Fidget Spinners, balls, dolls, pull-toys, racetracks, train tracks, and other miscellaneous toys also found homes, although by that time, I caught myself dumping them all in a big plastic bucket.  A cedar chest was the perfect spot for stuffed toys, but there were way too many to fit in it, so I enlisted the help the three-year-old by asking her to help me sort the seemingly hundreds of stuffed animals to give some a new home to boys, girls or babies who don’t have one.  Clover was excited to help me.  She became even more excited to discover long-lost “beebees” that she fell in love with again.  After a while, I quit asking, “Honey, should we keep – or give away?” because her pat answer was a firm “KEEP” while grabbing the “new” pet protectively.  The stuffed animal chest is stuffed even more now that I’m leaving, thanks to some of the gifts she received for her third birthday while I was there. (If I’d only KNOWN how much she already had…)

Books!  I could sort books easily, which I did.  Tall books, Little Golden books, Mercer Mayer books, Sesame Street, Leap Frog, and personal picture books all found a proper home, easy to grab to read. But I see why Dewey Decimal was invented.  Reading two to three books per child per night means that many are pulled out and somehow fall to the floor when the child or the tired reader falls asleep.  Racing the next morning to get kids dressed, fed breakfast, pack lunches, and dropped off to school and daycare does not give one time to put the books back into MoMo’s designated slots, if you can even remember where that is.  When I left, though, I considered it a success that they were at least in the general vicinity:  a pile on top of the book case.

Ah, but I certainly helped my daughter with household chores.  At least my intentions were good. I got beds made. I emptied the dishwasher, and folded clothes from the dryer. I ran the cleaner and used the Swiffer mop.  But when loading her dishwasher, I failed to notice that it held a plastic container that is supposed to absorb moisture and odors in between actual washes, and assumed it was some sort of big anti-streaking apparatus.  It was supposed to be removed BEFORE I turned the dishwasher on.  I spent about a half-hour trying to get all the little absorbent pellets out of the filter and the bottom of the washer.

Time raced too rapidly, and all too soon I was airborne back home.  Do you know what else was airborne?  Germs.  And I caught them.  It’s been almost a week, and I’m still coughing, sneezing, and blowing my nose.  But as soon as Alyssa called me and said they all missed me, all my worries about flying and germs disappeared.  I can’t wait until the next trip!


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