Monday, October 3, 2011

Missing Mandy

Today felt like fall.  The day was colder, the sky was gray, the ground was still wet from the rain the night before. As I stood in my kitchen making our favorite fall dinner, I was remembering the last time I made this meal. And I remembered who we shared the meal with. And I missed her.

The last two years we have had a quote/unquote nanny who came over twice a week.  Nanny isn't quite the right word. She really only babysat 3 hours a week, but she was more then just a babysitter. She quickly became part of our family.

In the fall of 2009, when Finn was 3 months old, Mandy came for the first time.  Because of her schedule she could only come at 4:30 on Monday and Friday.  That first day she came, I remember thinking how silly I felt as I laced up my tennis shoes to go take the dog for a walk, while Mandy babysat.  On Friday, in my nervous don't-know-what-to-say mode, I invited her to dinner.  It felt weird that we would sit down to eat just as she was leaving.  So she stayed.  And stayed.  From that day on, twice a week, we would eat dinner with Mandy.  

I soon found a good rotation of budget meals that I could stretch to feed 6-7 people. My husband eats alot.  Pretty soon, Mandy took over finishing the meal, and then took over cooking the meal all together. Mondays and Fridays became my favorite days of the week.

But all things must come to an end, and for us it was with Mandy's graduation.  It was sad and I hated saying goodbye but I was prepared.  And it's been okay. This year is different, I do not see my oldest until 4:30, my middle son is in school until 1:00 and most days it is just the baby and me.  I haven't felt the absence of Mandy, until tonight.

Tonight I pulled the chicken out of the oven, added the package of rice, cooked the frozen corn, and I remembered last fall.  Sitting down with Mandy, the constant chatter that only a college-age girl can have, the boys fighting amongst themselves, my husband and I just nodding amidst the chaos.  

Tonight I missed Mandy.

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