Last weekend, my daughter, her husband, and our 8-month-old grandson came to visit. Because this is their first baby, under state law, they are required to bring everything that their baby might need ... ever. So we were not surprised when a 24-foot moving van pulled into our driveway.
"Wow, that's one cute baby," one of the movers commented after unloading the truck. "Give us a call the next time they visit – we love moving baby stuff. It's nice and light."
I chuckled as I waved them out of my yard and sighed with nostalgia remembering the days my husband and I traveled with babies. By the time our second daughter was born, the expression, "we're going to need a bigger boat," became our mantra. And when baby No. 3 arrived, we stopped traveling any farther than our own backyard – and some days we didn't even make it that far.
"Come see your grandma," I said to my grandson as I navigated around clothes baskets and toys. Within minutes, my daughter had not only arranged, organized, and decorated the guest room for maximum baby appeal and comfort, but she had transformed our house into a playground that would have made Disney jealous.
"Where's the hamper?" my husband asked.
"It's part of the rain forest," I responded pointing toward the living room where our grandson was currently on safari. "Hope you don't mind donating a few shoes, we needed some baby hippos to add to the atmosphere."
"Fine, but does he need to be sitting in my briefcase?" my husband queried before surrendering to the situation. "Hey, is he really playing with my laptop?"
"Don't worry," I said. "We're just using it for the controls on his boat. Mostly the baby is just sucking some of the letters on the keyboard. It will be fine."
Our visit was lovely, heartwarming, and – miraculously – without any spills. My daughter choreographed her visit with the precision of a chef carving a fugu fish.
At the end of our visit, she repacked everything that would fit into their van.
"Keep the rest until next time," she whispered as she kissed me goodbye. "Gotta dash, the baby is about to fall asleep. He had so much fun."
"Gee, is there enough room for the baby?" I asked as I watched her slide the baby into his car seat using her left arm as a giant shoehorn.
My daughter waved one last time as her van quietly rolled out of the driveway. But as I watched her leave, I wondered if motherhood might better be defined as talent running amok, looking for a nation to run. A mother's multitasking abilities – shifting gears, for instance, while lulling the baby to sleep with a soft lullaby before they even hit the highway – can be useful in many fields.
It's no wonder that so many women eventually become successful business entrepreneurs. Motherhood requires skills that far exceed the requirements of managing the home. Once you have traveled with a baby, running a multimillion dollar business is a piece of cake. Why shouldn't Bill Gates's office be the next project? The job would be the same although the furniture and trimmings might cost a tad more. And if a mom found Bill sitting in his briefcase playing with his laptop, no one would be concerned.
Today my husband and I are the sole inhabitants of our house once again. His laptop is back on the kitchen table, his shoes are back in his closet, and a coat of paint should be enough to cover the tree mural my daughter painted on the living room walls.
The briefcase, well, OK, we had one casualty here. Our grandson insisted on sailing his boat home. I'm sure it will be returned someday when he needs a bigger boat.