That’s what Pat called it when he called this morning while he was watching his grandchildren. I called it ‘same song, different verse’ – vaguely reminiscent of a similar incident with his daughter, the mother of his grandchildren.
Jenny had a job interview this morning, so Pat offered to watch Lizzie and Liam for a short time. He figured he could mow the law and get some lawn work done – and the kids are always happy to help. Jenny told the kids she would be just ‘over the hill’ and back soon. As Pat mowed the front yard, Lizzie and Liam sat calmly on the front step playing – knowing that they needed to stay out of grandpa’s way. Pat walked around the corner of the house to mow the side yard. After about five minutes, he thought it was strange that his two little shadows had not followed him, so he walked back to the front yard where he found – NO CHILDREN! He looked up and down the street and didn’t see the two little urchins.
Pat had a flashback to 27 years earlier, when Jenny had disappeared out the front door of the house after she had decided to go for a walk all by herself. I had received a phone call that day at work asking if I knew where Jenny would have gone – which was impossible since I was at work! And now, here he was again – only now there were two little munchkins on an adventure! He took a breath and remembered that he had found Jenny right behind our house – her little legs hadn’t carried her too far.
With that in mind, Pat tried to think about which direction his charges would have gone when he remembered that their mother had said she would be just ‘over the hill’, so up the hill he went yelling “Elizabeth” and “Liam” at the top of his lungs. As he rounded the corner, there stood two small hoodlums staring at him and not moving an inch.
“We’re looking for Mom!” Lizzie exclaimed while Liam pleaded with his grandfather – “I was going to come back, but Lizzie wouldn’t let me!” There is no loyalty among escapees.
Pat took them both by their little hands and on the short walk back home explained to them the dangers of wandering off — cars, trucks, bad people – none of which seemed to phase them – “We’re careful Grandpa. We can see the cars. We don’t talk to strangers.” – so Pat finally resorted to a real scare tactic — “You can’t wander off like that or there are people who will steal you and feed you to their dogs – or sometimes to their snakes!” As outrageous as that statement may be, it is the one that caught their attention and the both promised to stay close to grandpa.
I’m not sure what part of this was the ‘grandpa moment’ Pat told me about before he explained his morning — the fact that he forgot small children are really, really fast or that they are very literal (mom was just over the hill) or that children almost never do what you tell them to do especially when it involves sitting still or that a good scary story always does the trick. Maybe he meant that this time when he ran up the hill to find his young charges, he had to stop twice to catch his breath!