A number of years ago, my oldest daughter, Toney, and her family lived in Michigan. Her son, Brent, was about five and her daughter, Jourdan, was two and a half. Mike, her husband, got a job transfer to Louisville, Kentucky. That meant they had to take a trip to Louisville and find a place to live, so my husband and I were asked to come for a visit and stay with the children. Once we were there, we were informed that we’d also be letting a Realtor show their house. That was a lot of responsibility!
To make matters worse, we had to take our little ten-year-old blind Yorkie along because she wouldn’t have survived without me. Caring for her was almost like looking after another child.
The first day went well. Until bedtime. Jourdan missed her mom and refused to sleep in her own bed! No matter how long I rocked or how many stories I read, she’d close her eyes until I tip-toed out of the room and then start screaming. She finally ended up in our bed between my husband and me. That didn’t work out well. She was allowed to have a small bottle of apple juice when she went to bed. Cuddled next to me, she’d suck that bottle dry, fall asleep for a short while, then wake up screaming, “More apple-zooce, Maw-Maw.” I’d hold her, rock her and rub her back but nothing worked, so off to the kitchen I’d go for more apple-zooce. I lost track of how many times this happened throughout the night. Brother Brent slept through it and Paw-Paw finally left us and found another place to sleep. It was just Jourdan and me... and a bottle of apple-zooce. It was a very l o n g night!
The next morning, the Realtor called and asked if he could bring someone by to look at the house. Toney had told us we should leave when that happened, but we didn’t have anywhere to go with two small kids and a blind dog. So I explained to the Realtor and he agreed it would be okay if we stayed in the garage while he showed the house. Surprisingly, the first people who looked bought the house.
That behind us, we decided to cook some burgers on the grill making things simple for ourselves and fun for the kids. While they played in the big back yard, Paw-Paw prepared the grill and I prepared the food. But a quick check from the kitchen window told me that Brent was playing alone. I couldn’t see Jourdan! I went outside and asked my husband, “Where’s Jourdan?” He said, “She’s playing with Brent.” I said, “No she’s not!”
“Brent! Where’s your sister?” I yelled. “I don’t know,” he said.
It was panic time! The three of us looked everywhere inside and outside the house, in every corner of the yard, up and down the street, yelling her name as loudly as we could, but there was no sign of Jourdan!
Frantic, I remembered that Toney had left a list of neighbors’ phone numbers in case we needed help with anything. Choosing the first one on the list, I dialed the number. A nice lady answered. I explained who I was and that we were in a panic because we couldn’t find Jourdan. She chuckled and said, “She’s here.” I breathed a sigh of relief but was a little angry, too. She said, “She plays here a lot. When she came to the door, we thought it was okay to let her in. It’s fine if she stays for a while.” I said, “No, it’s not! My husband will be after her in a minute."
He walked about three houses down the street. The neighbor met him at the door with Jourdan. Taking her hand, he led her toward home. As I watched, I couldn’t help but smile. Appearing so small walking hand in hand with this grown man, she kept looking up at him all the way home, talking constantly. Even at that young age, it was obvious she was using every winsome trick she knew to get out of trouble. And it worked! By the time they got home, Paw-Paw was smiling broadly.
It was a memorable few days, but I won’t deny that we breathed a sigh of relief when Toney and Mike returned. It's so much easier to enjoy your grandchildren when you're not totally responsible for them!