Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Scripting a life

We're off to Vegas tomorrow on vacation, and that means tonight and tomorrow are frantic dress rehearsals to make sure that the grandparents understand everything they're supposed to do. So I'm writing out the entire schedule for four days. You'd think it would be easier as the kids get more self-reliant and flexible, but I'm finding that I have to remember to put in every little thing. Granny Lou and Papa want a full script to follow, nothing left to chance.

I can see why, putting myself in their shoes. Kids have so many idiosyncracies, so many obdurate preferences. Every interaction is a potential slip-up. And the pressure's on -- there's nothing like an unfamiliar kid to make you feel like you're at an audition.

There's some of that in my kids. Archer is so dependent on things being in their proper place and time that he can be quite demanding: "You need to do that," he frequently directs us with a pointing finger. Cady Gray is at the age where she has some definite ideas about what should happen and when, and she's not shy about sharing them.

But in general they aren't picky or whiny. They tend to receive suggestions enthusiastically (if they are proferred enthusiastically). If I think about specific situations that might occur while we're gone, I can imagine them getting frustrated or unhappy or angry. Most days around here are so even-keeled, however, that the possibility feels remote.

I'll offer as much guidance as I can, and then I've got to let go and head for the desert. My mom's anxiety over being left in charge, manifested in her requests for minute detailed instructions, is tending to make me more anxious about leaving. But we've waited too long for this. Next time you hear from me, we'll be at the airport, free and clear if not yet ex-Arkansas.


the secret knitter said...

Have a great trip!

Doc Thelma said...

Bon Voyage! Give my regards to Wayne Newton.

Ali said...

My mom tells the story of leaving my 2-year-old sister with my dad's mother when she went to the hospital to have me. She took one look at the detailed schedule and instructions my mom had written out and said, "Hmph. I know how to take care of a kid." But then we never had much of a relationship with my dad's mom growing up, so perhaps she should have read the instructions!