A Glimpse into a Week of Chaos—and Laughter

Many months ago, my son and his wife were making plans for a wonderful trip of a lifetime to celebrate their 10-year wedding anniversary. This has been a part of their life-plan since they married and they have saved their dimes, quarters, and 10 dollar bills so they could take a 13-day Mediterranean trip on a Viking Ocean Cruise ship.

There was just one small hitch—they needed someone to keep their children.

Allison’s parents agreed to keep them for Week One which was also Spring Break. For Week Two, I was asked if I would live at Chris’ home so I could house and child-sit. I would need to get them to school and pick them up and check homework and handle Easter baskets and other day-to-day events.

And oh, there was one additional bonus. Her name: Keelie (formerly known as Trouble) Haldeman—their 2 ½ year old Golden Retriever who would spend Week One at Doggie Camp but Week Two with me.

So, on a Sunday afternoon I met Allison’s parents at Chris’ home and we had our hand-off. (A neighbor had already brought Keelie home from Doggie Camp.) 

The next 8 days are a blur—but two thoughts about the week are imprinted firmly in my mind.

My grandson is never quiet…..he talks to you, to himself, to his stuffed animals, to his cars, to his food—you name it—he talks.  And he only knows how to run or jump—he does not know how to walk or be still. His constant energy can bring you to your knees….. and yet, his energy and his enthusiasm for life is contagious. I hope it is something he never loses.

My granddaughter is changing….. I have seen so many changes in her these last 6 months. She is growing up. Her facial bone structure has changed. One night, when I went to say goodnight to her….. she was sitting in her bed and she looked at me and smiled and my heart jumped to my throat—I could see the early signs of the beautiful young woman she would be one day. It took my breath away.

So…… this month, I am sharing a few remarks and thoughts about those 8 days.  As I look back on it, I am grateful to have had the opportunity to spend a few days in a home where noise and laughter—not solitude—reside….. and to experience the joy that comes from the day-to-day messiness of living and interacting with those you love.

Personal Hygiene—Random Thoughts on My Way to Work

Did I floss this morning?

Did I brush my teeth?

Do I have mints in the car?

 Lost and Found

Where is my iPhone?

Where are my glasses?

Where did I hide their Easter baskets?  In a real good place…I remember that much.


What was that sound?

“Go to separate chairs and stay there now!”


“Is anyone bleeding?”

Where oh where do Chris and Allison keep their paper towels?


“My mommy lets me do that” (stated on multiple occasions—and always mommy. Apparently mommy either lets them do more than daddy, or they know better than to try to play the “daddy card”.)

Urgent (?) Requests



“Can I play Super Mario on your iPad?”

 Backseat Drivers and Car Conversations

“Nana, you should have gone that way out of the parking lot—if you had we would be farther up the road.”

“Nana, my friend says if you eat a black seed you will grow a flower in your tummy.”

“Nana, (while riding strapped in his car seat) I hid my cars in my pants.” (And the reason he feels compelled to share this is……?)

“Nana, if you had taken the shortcut my daddy takes we would be at the restaurant now.”

 The Dog

An empty shiny aluminum dog water bowl looks (from a distance) like it has water in it.

If Keelie is panting and staring intently at her empty shiny aluminum dog water bowl then she is trying to tell you something.

 Dietary Lessons

Pills taken on an empty stomach because you forgot to eat breakfast while trying to get two kids to school and you to work can lead to a stomach ache.

Two handfuls of Teddy Grahams from an opened (don’t ask why) box sitting on your front seat can make a good breakfast…… #TeddyGrahamsNewBreakfastOfChampions

Sleeping Arrangements

Keelie thinks I should not sleep alone. She thinks she should sleep with her head on my chest and her face right in front of mine—dog breath included.

Keelie snores.  Or, hmmm..was that me?

 Random Thoughts/Lessons Learned

As I am backing out the driveway …did I lock the front door?

If you are throwing dirty laundry over the 2nd floor banister down to the 1st floor so you do not have to carry it down the stairs, you need to avoid hitting the dog and the chandelier.

 Final Words of Wisdom from my Grandson

“Nana, I don’t want to play outside now as Keelie pooped and I can smell it.”


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