Where There's A Will...There Are Lots Of Memories
Macaroni and cheese.
All of these things were part of my life but gradually faded away as my kids grew older and older. My daughter is now part of the workforce, and my son's biggest language issues are in his Marquette Arabic class.
But for one night this week, all of the above and then some came back to our empty nest.
Life came full-circle as we babysat for our former baby sitter's son: that's right, the little girl who used to watch our two kids now has children of her own, including nine year old Will who we got to watch while the family was out of town.
Will came complete with a high-school sized backpack and a third-grader's usual allotment of homework including an assignment that required crayons. There was a time when I couldn't toss an empty beer can without hitting a pile of Crayolas anywhere in the house, when I wasn't stepping on them on my early-morning trek to the bathroom or couldn't find a rainbow's worth stuffed into the sofa cushions.
When Will asked if I had any so he could finish his assignment, I had nary a single Burnt Umber to offer.
Off to Walgreens I went where I was met with a dazzling array of high-tech Crayola goodness including a pack of 24 that self-sharpen and come with nifty twisty bottoms so the user no longer has to peel paper off the business end. It's demonry, I tell you.
Dinner was, by request, Kraft Deluxe macaroni and cheese with a side of green beans and the star of the show, chicken nuggets. My wife handled the spelling drill, I plugged Will into the XBox 360 for a pre-bedtime Madden clash pitting the Jaguars against the Lions. He and I hit the sheets about the same time. He got to sleep until 7. I was on my appointed rounds at 1:30 a.m., the upstairs light uncharacteristically on just in case Will needed to find the bathroom in a strange home.
The wonder of having a kid in your home never stops--when they're infants struggling to get through the night or college kids on Christmas break struggling to get out of bed by noon. And, it's great to revisit the past, to use parenting muscles that might've atrophied as your kids grew.
There's a name for that. I think it's called "grandparent" Thanks, Will, for giving us an early taste of that.