Friday, July 25, 2008

House Arrest: A Blessing!

Isolation can be a phase of life that makes a person wiser. A stay-at-home mom experiences a sense of isolation, and must come up with creative ways to engage her adult self. Going out and being active, with the children, is very important to maintain sanity. Currently, I own three strollers, and I’m ashamed to say that I have purchased a total of four in my lifetime. None of them are ideal, and that’s why I ended up with four. I’ve got a single, a double, one that a child can stand up and ride on the back, and another double that bit the dust. Big Brother spent so much time in the last one that eventually, the weight of his growing body actually cracked the frame. I drag one of the survivors outside to wash it down with the hose. It’s full of dust from its exile in the basement. As I open the front door, I hear the house alarm beep, alerting the kids, who are playing in the den, that the front door has opened. Big brother runs to the window. “Mommy, where are you going?”

“I’m just outside for a minute. Can keep an eye on your sister and brother?”

Yes, I do realize that I’m asking a five year old to watch a three year old and a one year old. Reader, one has to understand that Hell Hound is not a responsible babysitter, so that leaves me no choice. I remember fondly the good old days of reckless, unlimited freedom. I could walk to the shed at the back of my property all by myself, and no one stopped me. Heck, I might even grab a rake and get some yard work done if the whim struck me.

Today, I have to hurry up and finish washing this stroller before something goes wrong in the house. Big brother is jumping up and down at the window. “Mommy, something terrible and urgent has happened. Come inside immediately!”

I drop the hose and run inside. Baby Brother is eating the Princess’ oatmeal. He looks up at me and exclaims, “MMMMMMMM!” The Princess is missing. However, those are not the problems that Big Brother was referring to. He’s playing a game on Noggin Online and the screen has frozen. I put the baby in the play pen for a minute. “Where is your sister?” Big Brother shrugs. To my right is a trail of clothes on the kitchen floor. I follow it collecting shoes, socks, wet skirt, and wet Care Bears underpants. Then I reach the steps. I call the Princess. Her response is “Sorry Mom. I’m just changing my clothes. Accidents happen!”

As I put the clothes in the laundry, the babysitter rings the bell. Don’t arrest me yet, she is a human over the age of 14. Every Tuesday I go to the nursing home to play Bingo, and until my entourage gets older, that currently requires a real babysitter.

At the nursing home, a dozen elderly folks are watching soap operas in the common room. I smile and greet some as I cross into the dining room where the game takes place. Nearest to the television is Bess, a slight woman with piercing green eyes who was a librarian for many years. “That was when I was young,” she explains. Her daughter is grown and lives in California. Bess looks down at her hands. After a pause she's suddenly glassy-eyed. “It’s sad,” she says. I take her hand and talk her into joining me at Bingo.

We sit with Addie, a Bingo regular. Mike, a war hero, according to his hat, wins five games straight. “He must be cheating again,” I whisper to the ladies at my table. Bess giggles. At our table, we talk in between games about my children and their children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Addie is the oldest person I’ve ever met. She’s also one of the most joyful people I’ve ever seen. She fascinates me. During our small talk her eyes light up. “How blessed you are! The children keep you busy. I remember those days…It’s not easy! Before you know it they’ll be grown up and gone. You’ll have your own time again.” An alarm sounds in the distance. One of the residents, who suffers from an illness that causes him to wander and get lost, wears a bracelet that triggers an alarm when the exit doors open. A nurse goes over to assist him.

Addie continues. “Do you know how old I am?”

I do. She asks me this question every time I see her, but I say no, because it makes her happy. “One hundred and four years old!” She almost shouts this fact, proudly. She laughs, because apparently, being that old strikes one’s funny bone.

“What’s your secret, Addie?” I love listening to her, but she has trouble hearing me. I shout my question about four more times. “Well, I stay involved. I’m on the Resident’s Committee. I try to make healthy choices, but mostly, I stay positive. Live in the moment and be satisfied with it, because life changes.” “Bingo!” I say, loud so Addie can hear me. Mike looks up. “This game didn’t start yet,” he yells. Addie looks confused. People are grumbling. I apologize to the whole crowd, and then, leaning close to Addie’s hearing aide I say, “I meant you’re right.”

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Dear Internet Traveler,

Welcome to my writer's blog, started about six years ago for fun. Over time, the writing I have posted has ranged from personal reflection, to Long Island history research, to tall tales for my own amusement, to feature articles for local newspapers. As you can see from topics listed here, I travel in many mental directions in regard to interests. Click on the tabs and labels to explore my strange mind which senses that you may be having a criss-cross day. If so, perhaps this blog will distract you. However, please note that if you tell me my blog is beautiful just to get me to advertise rhinoplasty surgery and cheap drugs from Canada in your comment, I will ask the gods to give you a tail that cannot be concealed.


Loren Christie

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