What do you do when your husband calls in the middle of a work-related event, in Chicago, and says that your mother needs help getting on her jammies, in South Bend?
Why, you ask to speak to your daughter, of course. “But she’s already gone to bed,” he hedges nervously. I can’t see his face, but I can read the subtext clear as day: “PLEASE don’t make me go in there!” (*sigh*)
“Put her on the phone, honey.” Noises and loud protestations ensue in the background. True to form, said teenager comes to the phone snarling. “WHAT?!”
“Sweetie,” I say through clenched teeth. “Do you remember the talk we had before I left that you needed to help get Mammie ready for bed while I’m gone?”
Time for the big guns. “So… You want DAD to go down there and help her get dressed? How do you think Mammie will feel about Dad seeing her bra?”
“She’ll be embarrassed.”
“Yes, I think you’re right about that.” Pause. Let it sink in.
“Okay. I’ll go downstairs now.” (Thump, thump, thump … slam.)
Craig is back on the phone. “Wow. What did you say?”
“I fought fire with fire. She’ll do anything for her grandmother. Including stuff she won’t do for us!”
When it comes to life juggles, it helps to know where the aces are kept.
Lord, thank you for making ours a multi-generational household. And thank you for a daughter’s tender heart that is big enough to accommodate her grandmother’s dignity. Help me to remember that, the next time she drives me up a wall — appealing to her love for her grandmother is a MUCH better way to secure her cooperation than threats.
St. Ann, patron saint of grandmothers, please keep us in your prayers for the rest of my trip. Let them not kill each other before Wednesday. Amen.