Thank heaven for little girls
Last week I babysat my granddaughters while their dad was in England and their mom busy with her school conferences. My goal as a parent was to always keep my kids busy so they would take long naps and I could get some work done. I can’t sit still and like to stay busy, so it just works out.
On this day of babysitting, my goal to keep my granddaughters busy. We began the day at YoYo Donuts because grandma badly needed a donut. The girls knew immediately what donut they wanted. One had a pumpkin donut and the other a yellow one! Each ate half of their donut and were soon running circles around the donut shop. When Charlotte started to jog in place shaking her arms and head, I knew it was time to go the park.
We drove to Lone Lake, one of my favorite parks, just a block or two from the donut shop. I used to bring Barry there when he was first diagnosed with FTD. We had a few picnics at the park because I wanted to get him out of the house. But Barry was not happy to be away from his TV and waffles back then. I soon gave up trying to get him out.
The girls were wild and couldn’t wait to explore the park, slides and swings. We hiked and looked for fish in the lake. We even found some cool mushrooms. I tried to sit on a bench and watch the girls run and climb but they yelled, “Grandma catch me, Grandma push me on the swing.” As I crawled slowly through a tiny tunnel on my 63-year- old knees, I thought how lucky I am.
When the girls started to tire, it was time to go see Grandpa Barry. Charlotte asked, “Are we seeing the Grandpa in the bed?” Wow that made me feel sad. That is all they know about this Grandpa. Part of me doesn’t want to bring them there. I want to protect them from it all. I don’t want them to see their Grandpa lying in a bed with diapers on. But that is not fair to Barry. I have no idea what he thinks when he sees these two beautiful little girls but if he gets any joy from them at all, it is worth bringing them.
The girls got their second wind when we arrived at Barry’s room. They ran down the hall to play the piano. They wanted a cup of water from the dispenser, multiple cups. When they got tired of that, they ran down the hall until they came face-to- face with a very old woman who had full and wide grey hair and one eye. She wanted to hold them and said in a very loud voice with her arms stretched out, “Come here! Come here!” Suddenly I had two, quiet little girls who wanted to be held. We went back to Barry’s room and I had them sit quietly in two chairs while I gave Barry some water. They watched quietly until Charlotte got up and walked over to rub Barry’s arm. She did it a couple of times. That was huge connection for a four-year- old to make. I saw Barry looking closely at her. I hope he felt a little love from her and, most of all, that he knows he is not alone and is loved.
We soon had to leave because Lilly was tired and both girls were hungry. After lunch, I put them to bed. They both slept a long time and so did I.