- Summer Guide
- College Guide
- Author Interviews
- Celebrity interviews
- College Articles
- College Essays
- Educator of the Year
- Personal Experience
- Travel & Culture
- Current Events / Politics
- Drugs / Alcohol / Smoking
- Entertainment / Celebrities
- Love / Relationships
- Movies / Music / TV
- Pop Culture / Trends
- School / College
- Social Issues / Civics
- Spirituality / Religion
- Sports / Hobbies
- Community Service
- Letters to the Editor
- Pride & Prejudice
- What Matters
Home Away From Home
“Mia, Doodah, we’re here.” My two sisters and I yell at my grandparents as we enter into their cozy home suddenly liberated from the arctic winter as my goose bumps settle. I look to my right, into the eating area, which I notice has recently been painted a light sky blue, and see Doodah set down his “Time Magazine” being sure to bookmark his page for later use. Doodah stands up from their plaid blue sofa sitting behind their oval wooden table and dining chairs. I hear Mia’s shoes clanking on the ground as she wobbles into the kitchen from the living room where she was probably playing solitaire on their dated computer. I am suddenly taken in by the abrupt heat. I tear my white, limited Too coat off, exposing my eight year body in my American idol costume. The blue and black flared metallic Lycra pants completely cover my toes. The one sleeved top has American idol written across the top cutting off two inches above my belly button. My mom and dad shovel us into the house as quickly as possible so they can make their great escape from two year old Shelby and six year old Samantha.
“Well, Hi girls. Hello baby boy!” Mia says “Dear Lord Child what do you have on? I don’t know why your parents let you walk out of the house like that. If you lived with me you wouldn’t even have that outfit.”
“Hey Mom, hey Dad,” My dad says.
We exchange our hellos and our hugs and then we were off, running to get to the chair infront of the computer monitor. Shelby, Samantha, and I run into the living room to play on the computer. When I enter into large room, I am immediately drawn into the litte, four seat dining room table covered with clutter. The brown, pull out couch sits on the opposite side of the room on the wall, across from the table. As I start to walk toward the comfy couch I begin to feel tired and my body becomes heavy, as I drag my legs along the floor. My parents tip-toe out of the house, trying not to be noticed. After about half an hour of playing Dress Up Dolly on the computer, which really consisted of twenty minutes of waiting for the games to load and ten minutes of actually playing the game, we went to set up our bed of pillows. We step the one step from the den leading to the small square, right above the basement staircase. We gather all four of the seventeen inch, square pillows and placed them side to side. We pushed and shoved until all of the thin pillows fit perfectly into the nook. We went around the house and put all the couch pillows and any other pillow we set our eyes on. We set the pillows along the side of the square giving it a cushiony feeling. We throw the children books into the pillow mess and jump in. we squeeze our little bodies into the nook. We read our three favorite books, Brown Bear Brown Bear what do you see, Very Hungry Caterpillar, and Miss Marry Mack, for about the one hundredth time.
As we sit in our comforting area we start to smell Mia’s great creations. I can smell it, our unusual favorite part of the meal, the broccoli. She cooks it just perfect every time, she always says it always tastes better when you make it with love. We smell the salty scent of the chicken that we have every time because that’s pretty much the only meat Doodah will eat to keep up with his strict running diet. I am engulfed by the buttery smell as she spreads the Brummell across the scorching bread, but am suddenly taken by surprise by Mia's sudden screech and potty word after she burnt herself on the pan. She runs it under cold water taking the pain away. Doodah stands up from their gray itchy couch turning off their old television. As we gather around the table, we look at all the delicious food but then I notice them. Out of the corner of my eye I see the fluffy, white mashed potatoes. I sit in the chair in front of the glass door leading outside into their backyard. Across from me is Doodah and next to me is Mia sitting in their regular seats. I lick my lips with anticipation as we say grace. My mouth waters as Mia distributes the food onto my plate. I start to cut my chicken and juice squirts onto my plate. The mashed potatoes are delicious. They have the perfect ratio of salt, pepper and butter. I butter my crunchy bread and tear the center out to eat it. Then I begin to butter the inside of the crusty edges. Now for the broccoli, I saved the best for last. I stab my fork into the slightly overcooked broccoli, just the way I like it, and eat the top of the broccoli tree. The broccoli is so perfectly made it exceeds my expectation of excellence. The salty goodness I tastes as the beads of broccoli fall into my mouth is enlightening. After every one is done with dinner and we clear off the table, my sisters and I settle ourselves on the couches. I sprawl myself out lying across the yellow couch in the kitchen behind the head of the table in front of the large window looking out over their backyard. Doodah comes in and squishes us together so he can sit in his usual spot on the couch. As he squats down to sit on the couch he groans and says:
“Oh, Stephanie I’m old. It stinks to get old.” He continues by saying some smart-aleck, sarcastic comment and I respond with a sarcastic comment as well. We would start off watching some sports game that no one cared about except Doodah. Then we get a brilliant idea. We deceitfully walk up to Mia who is sitting on the kitchen table drinking a glass of water probably thinking about Aidan or Aunt Laura. Aidan is so sweet. It’s sad that he still can’t talk and isn’t potty trained, it must be extremely hard for Aunt Sarah having a special needs child and two other children to take care of. I know Mia thinks about it a lot which makes me sad because I don’t like seeing Mia sad. Aunt Laura has a good life but I know she and every one in our family would want her and her four kids to come to Lousiville or Cincinnati anything closer than California.
“Mia, help us tickle Doodah’s feet,” we giggly whisper.
I position myself next to Doodah so it will be easy to tickle him. Mia walks by him but then pivots and grabs his foot. We all dodge toward him with our fingers in a tickle position. He bursts out laughing and telling us to stop. He pulls and tugs his feet trying to get free from this torture. We tickle him until he finally gets his feet on the floor where we are unable to tickle him anymore. We all stand up and laugh for a couple minutes until we sit back down on the couch. It’s now 9:00 and we all know what time it is, popcorn time. Mia begins to pop the popcorn over the stove. We all grab a T.V. tray and set it up in front of us. She gives all three of us the big silver bowl of salty popcorn and Doodah his own small bowl of salt less popcorn because salt goes against his strict (and in my opinion too strict) eating standards. She pours us our orange juice and brings a glass to Doodah, Samantha, Shelby, and me. We all sit and watch the boring sports game. It’s now 9:30 and this is when Doodah starts to fall asleep. I look down at Doodah’s bony and kind of hairy feet. I can see where his quad muscle cuts from years of running. His body shows he has absolutely no body fat by his skinny legs, torso, and arms. His face looks calm as he sleeps with his glasses sliding down the bend of his nose. His shallow, soft snore starts to become irritating as I grab the remote hoping he won’t wake up. I turn the channel to Disney channel and Shelby yells at me to keep it because”Suite Life of Zach and Cody” is on. As we watch T.V. we all get tired and start to fall asleep. Mia sends us all off to bed and we all head toward the back bedroom. We hurry our way into the green bedroom and leap onto the double bed right across from the doorway. To the left of the bed is a wooden end table with picture of my dad and his sisters, Mia and Doodah on their 40th wedding anniversary, and all of the ten grandchildren. I see my reflection in the mirror of the dresser smiling as I imagine myself being a rock star in my costume when Mia comes in. We all lay down on the bed waiting to be tucked in.
“Are all three of you going to sleep in here together?”
“You’re going to get hot in here with all of you in that bed.”
“Well, if you get hot or too cramped then just come into the other bedroom right across the hall.”
We assured her that if we get hot then we will move, but we will be fine. She gives us all a kiss on the forehead and tucks us in and tells us that she will be right next door if we need her. After Mia leaves we lay in the bed giggling and playing. We settle down in extreme exhaustion and suddenly the sound of the cars zooming by on the expressway right next to their house becomes more alert. Then as we all start to fall asleep we cuddle under the covers and dream our own special dreams.