So, Mom, I’m thinking. It’s been 10 years since we had a holiday, just the two of us. If we were able to get a flight to Cuba, would you look after the boys?
My own mom, widely viewed by all grandchildren as the best grandmother ever, used to say she’d only take my girls one at a time. But there’s only one response when two little boys live on the other side of the country and two little girls at the other end of the world.
So here I am in Ottawa, which nobody ever visited for the weather.
How’s your week going? Can I be self indulgent – I haven’t spoken with many adults this week – and tell you just a little bit about my week thus far with six-year old Dream Boy and beguiling Baby Brother?
Day One: Mommy and Daddy are in Cuba.
6:20 a.m. (3:20 a.m. in my real life time): BB calls for attention. DB – truly a dream – quietly goes in to keep him company.
6:45 a.m. Up and at ’em. Blueberry smoothies this morning. Yummm, says BB then tips his cup upside down, watching the purple puddle spread across the floor.
7:45 a.m. I step into the shower. The curtain is thrown wide and BB leans in. Ooooooo, he says.
8:30 a.m. Look for my makeup bag. Find BB making like Rembrandt with my eyeliner.
9:50 a.m. Off to an indoor play joint for kids. An hour and a half of following BB up and down climbing stuff. I’m the oldest by a generation. The place is a noisy, germy, heaving hell.
Noon: Snowing. And cold. The car doors are frozen shut.
Day Two: An ice storm. In April. Snow turned to freezing rain overnight and everything – EVERYthing – is cloaked in heavy ice. Winds are high, branches snapping. Across the street a half dozen trees have toppled.
8 a.m. Call the school and message that DB will be staying home with me and BB.
10 a.m. Restless, DB wants to go outside. The door to the backyard is frozen shut. He heads for the front door. At six he can’t be on his own out front so it’s full-on snow regalia for everyone.
The porch and steps are sheer ice. Even the snow is treacherous. There will be no driving, no walking today.
DB gingerly steps off the porch, finds the rock salt and BB and I toss salt from our front porch perch.
We spend an hour with salt, an ice pick thing, and shovels, chipping away at the ice.
Lunchtime: There goes the power.
No TV, no wifi, no furnace, no charging phones. No escape.
A message from Mommy. Cuba is lovely and warm.
Dinner time: What’ll it be, boys? Cold soup or cold stew for supper?
5:30 p.m. The fridge hums to life.
I may have a wept a little.
Day Three: Warmer. Decide to walk DB to school and plunk BB in his stroller. Yesterday’s ice storm made for rough terrain. Hadn’t counted on that. I struggle on an incline at one point. The stroller tips. The baby falls out. Oops.
9 a.m. I take him to a babysitter explaining I need a shower.
Day Four: Snowed overnight.
6:20 a.m. BB calls, and DB tiptoes into his room.
6:25 a.m. Through the baby monitor I hear DB singing Baa Baa Black Sheep to his brother.
My heart swells.
5 p.m. A call from Cuba.
We’re doing fine.