Monday, September 20, 2010

The Guilt Trip

Whenever I would return to my mom’s house, one of the joys of coming home was seeing the baby’s heads peeking through the breakfast room window. Of course the babies were ecstatic to see me which was further accentuated by my mom or dad egging them on by saying ‘Who is that?’, ‘Is that Gary?’ or ‘Gary is here.’ Sometimes they would be whipped into such a tizzy that I could hear them crying and whining while I was still outside. By the time I made it to the door, they were there to greet me, sniff and play.

However, the window that they can watch me arrive home could also be used to watch me leave. Leaving them was always a sad event, even if it was just to go to school for a day. They would have long faces and become obviously quiet. If that wasn’t bad enough, they would stand at the breakfast room window and watch my departure. This window afforded a wide view of my mom’s yard including the side and the front. As I entered the car and started down the driveway, I could see their heads looking at the left window. When I was halfway down the driveway, they would shift to the middle window so they could keep an eye on my car, and finally when I rolled onto the street, they would move to the right window and watch me as long as they could. I don’t know if they were trying to make me feel guilty, but I felt guilty nonetheless. After I moved out of site, Abby would slouch down on the floor and pout for 30 min or so while Andy would go bopping into the den with my mom to enjoy his day.

Eventually, this routine ended. Abby was hobbled by arthritis and kept her movements to a minimum so she wouldn’t walk to that window to watch me leave. As guilty as I felt about having them watch me through the window, I would come to miss that ritual when they were no longer able to do it anymore. I felt a little empty and alone when I would glance at those windows only to see nothing.

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