The front door of Andrew and Rose Jackson’s house flew open and four-year-old Allison burst into the dining room, her parents, Randy and Jackie following behind her.
“Allie darling,” Jackie chided setting Allison’s little brother Andy down on the floor, “we need to ring the doorbell before we go dashing in!” Andy toddled off directly to the toy box in the corner.
“I forgot,” said Allison who was already seated in her grandmother’s lap. “Sorry!”
“You are forgiven,” said Rose with a smile. “Next time you’ll remember.”
“I’m just so excited,” said Allison.
“I can tell,” said Rose. “What are you so excited about?”
“Because I’m going to live at your house!” said Allison. “That’s super fun for me! And for you!”
“You’re going to live here?” said Rose.
“Well, just for today,” said Allison. “Because Mommy and Daddy have to go to the city.”
“That will be super fun for me,” Rose agreed. She turned back to the parents. “Are you guys in a hurry or do you have time for a quick cup of coffee?”
Jackie looked at Randy, who nodded.
“We can stay for a bit,” said Jackie. “In fact, we want to talk to you about something.”
Allison looked up at her parents. “You should just go,” she said.
Randy chuckled. “Don’t worry Allie, sweetie, you’ll have Grandma all to yourself soon enough.”
“There’s coffee in the pot,” said Rose. “Help yourself. I’ve got my hands full as you can see.”
“Mommy said later you would take us for ice cream, Grandma,” said Allison.
“Now that’s not exactly what I said,” Jackie corrected, seating herself across from Rose. “I said I was pretty sure you would ask her to, and when you did I was pretty sure she would say yes. Especially if Grandpa was around.”
“Grandpa will be around later,” said Rose, “and you know Grandpa loves his ice cream.”
“I wike ice cweam,” said little Andy who was driving a toy John Deere tractor around the legs of Rose’s chair.
“Everybody likes ice cream,” said Randy setting a mug down in front of Jackie and seating himself in the chair next to hers. “We may have some ourselves later.”
There was a brief silence.
“So, what’s up?” said Rose.
Jackie picked up her mug. “You know my friend Barb who works at the hardware store?” she said. Rose nodded. “Well,” Jackie continued, “Barb works five days a week, Monday to Friday. But she wants to cut back to three days a week and she asked me if I was interested in working there on Thursdays and Fridays in her place.” She paused.
“Really now,” said Rose. “And what did you say?”
“I said I would like to,” said Jackie, “but I would have to find someone to look after the kids.”
There was another pause.
“So you’re asking me to look after Allison and Andy every Thursday and Friday?” said Rose.
“We’d pay you obviously,” said Randy, “but it would be good for our cash flow, which we could use.”
“I don’t know that you’d have to pay me,” said Rose, “but I would have to discuss it with Andrew.
“Of course,” said Jackie. “And there’s no big rush. Barb said any time in the next month or so is fine.”
“Also,” said Randy, “we talked to Amanda and Jennifer about this. So Amanda doesn’t work on Thursdays and Jennifer has no classes on Fridays so if you needed time off sometimes, like if you were going on holidays or whatever, they could cover for you.”
Allison heaved a sigh. “When are you going Mommy?” she said impatiently. “I really want to take Grandma to the park.”
“Oh, good idea!” said Rose. “There’s a new play structure at the park! It’s awesome! It has climbing ropes and ladders and three slides coming down!” She turned back to Jackie and Randy with a grin. “Are you sure the little ones will be able to withstand the trauma of being separated from their mother for two days every week?”
Jackie laughed. “Pretty sure,” she said.
Randy got up. “We better get going,” he said. “Thanks for the coffee.”
Jackie got up as well. “So you’ll talk to Andrew?” she said.
“I will,” said Rose, “and I don’t think he’ll object.”
“Thanks.” Jackie leaned down to give Allison a kiss and then did the same for Andy. “Be good for Grandma,” she said, and she and Randy headed out the door.
“Finally!” said Allison. “I thought they would never go.”
“So what do you want to do first?” said Rose.
“Everything,” said Allison.
Rose laughed and gave her granddaughter a squeeze. “That’s my girl,” she said. “Let’s do everything then!”