In Just Four Months, I Get My Life Back… NTIC


I must preface this entire column with the caveat “Not That I’m Counting” or NTIC.

You may not remember it, but three and a half years ago (NTIC), I mentioned that I had offered to babysit my grandkids until they went to preschool so my daughter could keep the job she loved. She lives in Missouri, so I sold my house and moved. I did this because I don’t trust my DNA with just anyone.

At any rate, in four short months (NTIC), the youngest one will head off to preschool, and I will be free. I am looking forward to this for three reasons: 1) I want to see my husband again, 2) I want my own house back and 3) I want to retire before I’m old.

I suppose that needs some clarification. My husband, Mark, accompanied me to Missouri, of course, but I never see him. We’re in the same house, in the same car, in the same room 90 percent of the time, but we never see each other. We are entirely focused on who is jumping off the coffee table, who is climbing up the chimney, who is eating the dog’s food and who just made a mess. If one of us leaves the room, we communicate via text.

We are excellent caregivers, completely devoted to our young charges. With the combined experience of 76 years of child-rearing under our belts (NTIC), I won’t say we’ve seen it all, but we’ve seen a lot of it. Now I want to see the inside of my own refrigerator. I’ve missed that.

I suppose we could’ve bought a place up here right away, instead of staying in a “wing” of my daughter’s farmhouse, but we didn’t feel that permanent. The trade-off is that we co-exist with a refrigerator that houses things like free-range goat milk, farmer’s market edamame and eggs from some stranger down the road. I like things that the FDA has at least glanced at.

Plus, so many farm workers have come and gone through the back hallway (NTIC) that I now just call them all Chris, male and female alike. (“Hi, Chris!”) That way I at least sound friendly, if pleasantly senile. Most of these workers bring a dog or two with them to work, and the dogs are all called, “Hey, There.” When I mop the floor of the back hallway, I call them different names, but we won’t go into that here.

Before I faded away entirely, Mark took me to a resort last week — just so we could remember what it’s like. We sat in the hot tub and chatted up people our own age. It was interesting to hear about their lives but, when it was our turn to talk, they didn’t know a thing about the last episode of Dinosaur Train. They just looked at us, perplexed. I wondered who was no longer relevant — them or us? Then I worried that I didn’t care. Is not caring if you’re relevant anymore the first step toward old age? Also, how old is old? I need to know.

Not That I’m Counting.