I was just digging through some old photo albums today and this folded up note fell out. It’s a 6-page list of ‘guidelines and explanations’ (my own obnoxious words) that I wrote up for my mother and father-in-law when they offered to care for our daughter so that I could take a once-in-a-lifetime 10 day trip to Italy with my mom.
This was 8 years ago. My daughter had just turned 1 and we had just moved into a new house the week before. There were boxes everywhere and the normal craziness of living with a 1-year-old. Even with all that, my in-laws were kind enough to volunteer to fly from Arizona to Seattle to watch her so that my mom and I could go on a food and wine tour across Italy. I am still grateful that they gave us this gift of their time, and now I am even more grateful that they didn’t either bolt for the door or laugh in my face when they saw what follows.
To ‘help’ them out, I put together what I thought was a helpful, information-packed list of all of the critical need-to-know items that they (and my daughter) would need to survive the next 10 days. As I now read it, 8 years (and a 2nd kid) later, I realize how thoroughly amusing this instruction sheet must have been to two intelligent, loving parents/grandparents who had already raised two boys of their own.
What follows is the body of the note and what I can only imagine was going through their heads as they read it…
I share this with all the moms out there: It’s for the moms who are preparing to write your own lists of ‘guidelines and instructions’ (that will probably sound a lot like this one) for your first time being away from your baby. And for the moms like me, with older kids, but who can still remember that first time we handed off our sweet babies as we ventured way out of arm’s reach for the first time. Save those notes. You’ll look at them someday and they’ll remind you of how far you have come…and that you should probably step it up a notch for your in-laws’ Christmas present this year.