I sit here this morning with Pepsi in hand and a sparkly purple, cone-shaped princess hat on...
No, my friend, today is not going to be business as usual at the Lehning household.
If fact, I expect it to be rather difficult.
My 2 year-old nephew arrived early this morning to spend the day with me. Having grown up in a large family with the mantra of "What's one more?"... the extra mess, the extra noise, the extra hot dog for lunch hardly registers on my things-to-do list.
For Sean, however, it is a huge, huge deal. It does not matter that Sean will be gone at school most of the day. It does not matter that my nephew has little more than the slightest of a passing interest in playing with Sean's things or competing directly with him for computer time.
Nothing matters to Sean except that there is another body in his house. Another person to make noise. Another person to make a mess. Another person to interfere with his perfectly planned, perfectly timed routine.
This person, this tiny, little person, has invaded his world.
This is not the first time I have babysat my nephew so it is nothing new for Sean. I'm guessing that after Sean gets home from school, he will forage through the pantry and refrigerator and then retreat to his room. After about 30 minutes the first call for me will be heard.
"When is he going to leave?"
"Soon, Sean. Soon."
I dare not give a time because that then would cause Sean to intensely watch the clock. His anxiety will grow with every passing second. Being late would have a most distressful consequence.
"Soon" is all I will give.
Five minutes will pass. Ten. With each beckoning of me, the tears will flow more freely, the voice will be more tense, the pleas will be more gut-wrenching.
It will not be easy for Sean to get through this experience but he must. He has to learn how to cope. He cannot live isolated. My family cannot live isolated.
In a twist that can only be described as really bad timing, today is also early dismissal for Carissa's school. Once a month, she gets home an hour early and has a friend in tow. It's her one time...one time a month... to be like every other kid and have a friend over for an hour or two.
Today is that day.... Today is her day.
I've warned Sean about what awaits him after school today. I will try to handle and manage his discomfort as best as I can. Hopefully, the weather will hold and he can escape outdoors and swing on the playset. It calms him. The back-and-forth, the quiet....
Eventually, he will ask...
Eventually, he will cry.....
And all I can do is watch the clock and say "Soon, Sean. Soon. It will all be over soon."