After eight days, and just a few mishaps, I gave myself a pat on the back for successfully keeping the grandkids out of the emergency room, their house intact and the dog alive.

The son-in-law might have thought differently after seeing the dent in the garage door (I really thought the 3-year-old knew how to steer, especially after she put the pedal to the metal on the battery-operated tractor), the broken knob on the laundry room door (I thought it was stuck), the flattened tricycle tire (the bike suffered the consequences of trying to over-correct after nearly tearing off the side mirror when backing out of their garage) and a disfigured water bottle (apparently they really do need to go on the top shelf of the dishwasher).

The grandson had baseball practice and the son-in-law gave me specific instructions on how to get to the field. After passing a dozen or more cornfields, the 6-year-old decided the surroundings didn’t look familiar. It took 20 minutes just to get back to the city limits. Thank goodness we left their house early, prepared with a stockpile of bottled water, candy and plenty of gas.

For the evening of the actual game I enlisted the help of my oldest daughter and, much to my delight, she also agreed to spend the night (knowing full well the 100-pound puppy would be excited to see a new face and would want to sleep with her, I was secretly looking forward to a night without paws pushing on my back).

The evening was a success, and we were excited for the next morning as we had planned to do something fun with the kids. A storm started brewing at first light and by the time the second round of thunder came blasting through we were all on the screened-in back porch watching the show. Unfortunately the power went out, and their excitement turned into nervous energy.

It became apparent the power wasn’t coming on anytime soon and I figured candy wouldn’t be the best option for breakfast. Trying to pack their bags with the light from my cell phone was no easy task, and eventually I just loaded the potty chair (a must-have with a trainer in progress) and we left the premises. My daughter drove my van with the grandkids and I followed in her fancy-dancy car. I was excited to have this 20 minutes of alone time until I realized I couldn’t figure out how to turn on the wipers and the rain was coming down in buckets.

When my cell phone rang I was impressed I could even answer, while steering and holding up the wiper arm, so I could see where I was going.

“She has to go potty,” my daughter said.

Really? Right now, in a storm, in the middle of nowhere? Can she wait? Do I want to take the chance she can’t?

June sat on the potty chair in the back of the van, with the hatch lid up, taking her sweet time and looking very relaxed as my body shielded her from the rain. It wasn’t a false alarm, so the only one wet was me.

Being responsible for two little people for a week gave me a new appreciation for my daughters. It’s easy to forget the struggle is real, as they make it look so easy.

Sandy Turner lives in Independence, Missouri. Email her at