Sunday, October 10, 2010

Village People

My Saturday schedule was a done deal; or so I thought. I prepared myself to photograph the fun and spunky Fox family then spend the rest of the day taking care of my grandchild, Rylee. But the night before, my lovely friend Lina sent me a text that the hubby will be working until 2 p.m. and shortly after another text from my daughter Chloe flashed on my iPhone screen asking if I could watch Rylee in the morning. I've become a master at juggling people and appointments so within minutes I rearranged my schedule. Instead of shooting a family session, I would hang out with Lina, her cute dog Crosby, my grandchild Rylee, and catch up on each others' lives. I've missed my friend Lina and desperately needed my Lina fix. Done deal, right? Wrong! 

Rylee woke up with a fever but I disregarded it because Gramma Nette's needs were top priority. I HAD to adhere to my schedule, HAD to check off my to-do list, HAD to spend every hour of my Saturday in worthy ways. She acted fine except for the fact that her skin was emanating some intense heat so what did the wise ol' Gramma Nette do? Give her Tylenol? Bathe her in tepid water? Oh, no! Gramma Nette dressed Rylee up real cute and brought her to IHOP with Auntie Lu so we could partake in breakfast before we headed to Lina's house. 

While we waited for our table Rylee exclaimed, "Gramma Nette! SEE! I want those!", as she pointed to a picture of IHOP's October kids special--Scary Face Pancakes. No sooner were we seated when my sister froze as she looked at Rylee's face. "Rylee! Are you going to throw up?!" Before my sister completed her sentence, a geyser of milk continued to spew forth from Rylee's mouth, drenching the seat, the table, her dress, and Gramma Nette! I heard silence in the restaurant, then laughter from the teenage girls at the table behind me. I hooked my arms under her and sped to the bathroom where more laughter ensued from the tables I passed. I had visions of turning Rylee in their direction so she could baptize them with some holy vomit but that only happens in the movies. Surprisingly, I didn't gag from the smell but remorse was hard to swallow. Poor Rylee was whimpering, "My dress is messed up, Gramma Nette!" To say my heart shattered is an understatement. I could have kicked myself for making MY way happen instead of heeding the obvious face of illness staring back at me. As we walked out of IHOP Rylee cried, "I don't wanna go home!" And when we drove into my parents' complex she whined, "I don't wanna go home! I'm so hungrrrrryyyyy! I want my scary face pancakes!" 

The unhappy camper in the backseat of my car. Will she ever forgive Gramma Nette? I had a feeling she wanted to take my iPhone and hurl it out the window.

I called my daughter Chloe to let her know about her sick, vomiting child, and she left work as soon as she could. After dumping Rylee in the "rain" (her expression for the shower), she was ready to eat so Rylee was ecstatic to see her mommy. 

Chloe prepared chicken star noodle soup and although it paled in comparison to IHOP's scary face pancakes it put a smile on my grandbaby's face. She insisted on feeding herself. 

When my mom jumped in the mix to give Rylee her Tylenol it reminded me of what my ex-husband said a few years ago about my family. He was upset that I wasn't going to kick Chloe out after discovering she was pregnant and was adamant about it. I told him there was no way in hell that I could live with myself knowing I kicked my daughter and grandchild out on the street. Rylee's daddy wasn't self-sufficient and knew he was unable to provide for both of them. My ex-husband, who always needed his dad for back-up, informed me that my father-in-law believed Filipinos are like a village and it took a village to raise a child. At the time, I was supremely offended, and the glaring difference of opinions was one of the many reasons my second marriage ended. 

But watching my mom and daughter rally around this incredible blessing during her illness made me proud of the village that cares for one another with selfless love. There are 4 generations under one roof: my mom, myself, my daughter Chloe, and Rylee; all doing life together, forever bonded by solid family ties. 

Rylee was so proud of the apple that she bit into a masterpiece. "Look! I bit my apple into the Disney Channel!" 

Despite the high fever, vomiting, and malaise, Rylee managed to muster up a smile for my camera. I suspect her mommy's presence made it all better. 

I am grateful that my error in judgment didn't cause long-term ill-effects and next time, Gramma Nette will know to leave a feverish child at home. (You'd think I never raised three kids.)

It does take a village to raise a child and I am a proud member of the village people.