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Thanks For Everything

Thanks For Everything by Denise Culloden-Booth

I have a tear in my eye, why? They said they would be off by 3 am and not to get up. I intended too. I heard them whispering and trying not to creak the sofa bed as they put it down. As if they should have to do that, after all it was going to take me the best part me three days to get back to normal. I reluctantly went back to sleep and when I awoke the house was empty.

Christmas is over, and what a Christmas. Displayed before me are unmade beds, piles of laundry, broken toys, drawings half crayoned, a fridge full of unwanted food and a bedraggled Christmas tree surrounded by fallen greeting cards.

There on the dresser I spied the last of the sherry. Mm, not a bad idea. I poured myself a glass and sat back wearily surveying my home the sherry sliding enjoyably down my throat. All was quiet and peaceful.

I sat a while sipping my sherry ... suddenly the sherry kicked in.

YIPPEE. No more over flowing bubble baths and rubber ducks skating down the hall. No more soggy towels draped over door knobs and beds. Outside no longer looks as if a centipede lived here, and best of all I don't have to eat no more McDonalds Happy Meals, or Chicken nuggets, or Hungry Jack's cheese burgers and fry's.

My nights will no longer have little visitors saying "Grandma, I'm frightened", as I tightly shut my eyes ordering them back to bed this instant with fingers crossed tightly beneath the covers hoping that my summons worked.

I still can't believe I sat and watched "A Bugs Life" whilst clutching what seemed to be two tons of popcorn and a warm coke. I was really taken in by Flick, the hero who dressed as a swag man complete with leaf hat and nuts hanging from a stick across his shoulders making it to the big city that was ingeniously life like with Chicken Treat and McDonalds cartons and empty soft drinks bottles fashioned to look like New York sky scrapers.
And the story line I thought was great seeing I'm into story writing myself. The highs and lows were all there.

The climax, and I actually cheered along with all the kids when the dreaded Hoppers got their ****-up-ense. We came out of the cinema squinting beneath the bright sunshine and discussing who our favourite ants were. Mine of course was Dot, the baby ant.

Later that night when my grandchildren were fast asleep I found some shoe boxes for beds and quickly sowed soft pillows and blankets for the newly acquired ant toys to sleep in. Hey brother, I was with it.

My skin was burnt from the endless picnics and barbecues. I don't care if I never eat another sausage in my life, and as for the pool, well I've been splashed, dunked and hit with balls. I've rubbed little faces with sun block and rinsed out bathers and towels and poured out endless glasses of water and apple juice. My head is spinning from shrieks. Why do children always shriek?

At this moment in time I am pinching time from my chores to write this and it feels good. The house is silent. No cartoons shouting, "Hey dude", from my television.
No Sony Play Station with little coloured dragons complete with its guardian angel careering along endless passages side swiping the menacing giants and thankfully no more wincing each time the fly screen door bangs shut.

But, but, and yet ... I won't have sticky little hands clutch my neck and a squeaky voice saying in my ear that they love me. I won't have necklaces made out of coloured beads that I simply must wear all day. No little faces peering round the shower door taking in the scene without a qualm whilst they show me their little drawing, and I won't have a little rosebud mouth kiss me good night.

I have a tear in my eye. Why?

Because it felt good to be needed. To feel tiny soft damp little hands in mine as we daily crossed the busy roads that led to the park. Oh the joy in my heart watching as I let go and they ran, skipped and bounced in joyful abandonment from swings, slides and round-a-bouts.

I'll miss the experience of feeling half scared as the quacking ducks plucked bread from our fingers. I'll miss sitting beneath the big shady trees as the dappled sun reached out kissing my shoulders spreading gentle warmth through my bones.

But best of all as I go about my daily chores I will remember how I taught them to bake cookies and cup cakes using their school skills to weigh out the ingredients. I remember how I turned every moment into teaching them old fashioned manners and watching with pride as they mastered knives and forks just to please me.

Just to watch their concentration as they wrote the shopping list, obediently holding pencils nicely instead of gripping as they seem to do today. Later feeling breathless as we race down the isles in the supermarket with triumphant cries as each item is found. I felt proud of their self discipline as we passed the**** and toys but I remembered to put a secret treat amongst the shopping.

Later upon our return the rush putting the groceries away with squeals of, "Let me do it, let me do it". Oh and the sudden silence as the treat is devoured and I sit down drinking a well earned cup of tea.

But my final glory is when I receive my first telephone call upon their arrival home and they tell me how much they miss me, blowing kisses across the miles. I wipe the tears counting my blessings already planning the next Christmas.

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