Grammy, time to wake up!

“Grammy, time to wake up!”  The shining light I call Munchkin yells into my ear.

“What time is it?” I mumble.


“Go back to sleep,” I whimper, pulling the covers over my head.

The next sound is soft, perfect laughter like a symphony of Christmas bells played expertly by angels.  I smile, stretching to touch the toy box a foot past the trundle mattress.  What time was it now?   I throw the pink comforter off, sit up and the world is a blur of colored dots.  In a room predominantly pink, the contrast of black and grey atop the toy box stands out like a garbage truck in a car lot full of corvettes.  Glasses on, the truth is painfully clear:  One becomes near comatose when one is exhausted out of her mind.  The big red numbers read 7:30am.

I look up at light blue dance costume hanging above my head like the sword of Damocles.  If I only had 1/10th of the munchkin’s energy the things I could do!  Run like a gazelle, climb like a mountain goat, maybe even finish my laundry.  I wander down the steps like a cross-eyed hound with 3 arthritic legs, passing through the living room toward Papa (my son) and the munchkin who are watching cartoons on his Ipad at the kitchen counter.

“My reset-tile is today!”  She squeals. 

“Recital,”  I correct her, without thinking.

“C’mon grammy, let’s play!”

“Tea,” I reply, walking into the kitchen like a zombie after someone’s life blood.

Microwave 2 minutes.  Tea bag.   Honey….honey….ho…  Geez!  I now have tea flavored honey!  My mind yells ‘WAAAAAKKKKEEEE  UPPPP!’

“Want a pancake mom?”  My son asks.  He’s now holding a spatula.   Where did the Ipad go?  Where am I?

“What was I doing?”  I asked.   I know that look.  It’s the look of a son who really doesn’t want to be the child who has to choose which nursing home I should go into. 

My stomach is still feeling the effects of last night’s dinner and I decline the offer of any food thicker than ice cream.  This time, I watch how much honey I’m pouring as it falls into the yogurt remaining at the bottom of a large container.

“Why don’t you use a bowl, grammy?”  The munchkin asks.

How should I reply to that.  Should I say I can’t trust that the yogurt will land in the bowl?  Should I say I’m lazy as hell?  No.  I tell her that I don’t want to waste a bowl.  She’s good with that.  Papa, Mama and I begin a conversation about work. 

“Play with me Grammy,”  The munchkin says, holding a box containing a Snow White jigsaw puzzle.  I sit on the floor, sifting through puzzle pieces.  That’s when I notice my son picking pieces of puzzle off the floor to put onto the table.  Munchkin is now inhabiting the seat I had been using.  Papa is putting the puzzle together with her.

I’ve been had.

I go upstairs, smooth out the bed covers and wonder, “How in the hell did I raise 2 kids and keep my sanity?”

Hours pass.  Munchkin’s mom and I are in casual long dresses, my son is in freshly pressed off-white pants and a lavender button-down shirt with crisp collar.  

Because of mama and papa’s schedules, he is the one who is able to take her to ballet.  He is the one who puts her hair in a bun, who helps her get ready, who stands in the hallway to do it because there’s no place for a man helping his daughter prepare for her big day.  Once she is ready and in the care of others, he takes his seat next to Mama in the great 2nd row seats she searched out for just the right view.

“When is Munchkin going to dance,”  I ask.  It’s a 2 hour recital.  Her dance is 2nd from the last.

A procession of gangly, uncoordinated girls in tutu’s pass through the stage one after the other.  I can count on the fingers of one hand how many have an ounce of talent. Some are without a clue as to the next step, others know the routine perfectly but their dancing has no soul.  I see the littlest ones prancing around and remember my children’s ballet recitals.  Was it that many years ago the man who is now a professor stood on the stage as a tiny boy and cried through his entire dance routine?  Was it that many years ago that my daughter completed her little Dutch Girl dance routine as if it were a soccer match?  The tears flow as dance routines proceed onward.  It’s as if I’m looking out the window of a speeding car with my glasses off—one blur after the other to the accompaniment of loud religious rock music. 

There’s a short intermission, then more tutu’s flow by.

 “Munchkin is next,”  My son says. 

There are 6 girls in her dance routine, but all I see is one.  She smiles at us and I reach for a tissue, smiling back at her as I dab at my eyes, crying out the joy I can’t contain.  She jumps higher, dancing with grace, talent, style, charisma.  Her face turns puzzled, then annoyed at the girls who don’t know the routine.  Who are those girls to ruin MY granddaughter’s special moment!

The dance complete, I clap as if Mikhail Baryshnikov had just given the performance of his life, eager to tell her how proud I am to be her Grammy.   

What about the rest of the day?  Playtime at fast food heaven, a cartoon movie at home where Papa and Grammy get to sleep for an hour on recliners, dinner, and then it’s almost time for her to go to bed. 

I begin writing this blog, the sound of her shower splattering on the floor above me.  Footsteps prance the stairs, too heavy to belong to the munchkin.  Papa walks toward the black recliner I’m inhabiting at the moment.

“Munchkin has requested your presence,”  Papa says.

I know exactly what this means.

We have a game we call “roll.”  She lays on her bed.  I push her onto the trundle below.  She laughs, then pushes me off the bed onto the trundle.  I roll off her bed, off the trundle, and on the floor as if I have no idea how I got there.  Laughter cascades through the hallway; it pours through my heart.  How could life be any better than this?

Perhaps, if I had1/10th of the munchkin’s energy?