My mother, Linda, arrived bright and bushy-tailed today in Mulletville to watch Junior. I was running out the door when she arrived, so Charles handed Junior off to her (which makes things a lot easier for me).
Around 10 a.m. I got a phone call.
“I’m trapped in the house. I can’t get out.”
“Mom? Is that you?”
“Your husband locked me in and turned on the alarm and didn’t leave me the code. I’d like to open a window if that’s all right. Your son and I are starving for some contact with the outdoors.”
My mother leans heavily towards the melodramatic. People aren’t thin, they’re emaciated. Junior doesn’t look tired, he looks like he’s about to collapse from fatigue.
I was surprised to find that the mental image of my mother and Junior locked in the house all day gave me immense pleasure, mainly because I was jealous that she got to spend the day with him while I pissed away my time at my stupid desk in my stupid office doing work I could really give a flying butt crack about.
“What’s the code? Hurry.”
“Hold on a minute, I’m trying to remember.”
I had a thought. What if I didn’t give her the code and she had to spend the entire day in the house with Junior? No walks with the stroller, no sitting out on the front steps to count mullets. Trapped inside all day, Junior could get cranky. Intolerable even.
“Should I call Charles?”
“No, I have it written down. Somewhere.” While I shuffled papers around I heard Junior shrieking in the background. Linda cooed to him.
“Has he had his nap?” I snapped.
“We’re just about to do that,” she sang.
I sighed. Even without the code and open windows she and Junior would be fine because when it comes to entertaining my child, my mother is the embodiment of Julie Andrews, the Energizer bunny, Mr. Rogers, Barney, and a puppy dog. Junior could spend ten years inside with Linda and he’d be just fine. A little neurotic and controlling and paranoid but juuuuust fine.
(Did I just describe myself by default?)
I gave her the code.
“Oh thank you. Thank you. I was starting to feel like...like that squirrel. Remember that squirrel that climbed into the chimney when you were in high school? When we were on vacation in Florida? Remember? It clawed all the windowpanes, down to the glass? You were dating Doug and he went through the house with that stupid baseball bat trying to find that poor squirrel?”
“Mom? I really have to go now.”