Saturday, August 20, 2011

What We Did On Our Summer Vacation....

Several of my favorite past posts have been about my Texas grandsons, Caleb and Samuel.   We had gotten used to having them nearby and somehow lived through their move to Texas.  Then we all made it through a very stressful visit at Christmas time and have had many trips to and from Texas to keep the relationships alive (it helps that they moved only 90 miles from our other Texas peep, Zella!)  This year's visit was actually so much easier than that Christmas visit -- Samuel is now 2-1/2, very verbal, and Caleb turned 5 while visiting us.  We were especially impressed by remembering that Samuel is now the age Caleb was when they moved, so we were reexperiencing the joys of life through the eyes of an excitable, enthusiastic toddler. 

We had agreed/offered to take care of these two boys for 11 days so that their mother could spend time in Italy with her husband, who was there for 4 weeks of theatre training.  Bethany stayed with us for a week and a half in advance of her trip and then had almost a week with us upon her return.  She taught us her tricks on handling the boys, which really helped!  I convinced my husband to take some time off to help with the childcare and he and I were both surprised at how much we both enjoyed the experience.  Yes, it was physically difficult and at times totally chaotic, but we also experienced the unconditional love and affection that is usually reserved for their parents.  We planned outings every day to keep ourselves sane, came home for lunch and a rest for all, then usually took boys to the park next door to chase and run (the playground is undergoing renovation and was CLOSED all summer).  DVD's and computer time and special treats abounded, lots of books were read and bedtimes occurred without much grief.  Space Needle, Monorail, Imagine Museum, Woodland Park Zoo at least 3 times, Pacific Science Center, spray parks, libraries, playgrounds, McDonald's (a big hit), the Blue Park a couple of times (Sheridan Beach) -- we hit them all!

The first couple of days Sam would get up and ask for Mommy to do things, but soon found that he didn't really have a choice but to transfer his allegiance to us!  I had put together 11 treat bags -- one for each day Mommy was gone -- and a red bag to show the day she would return.    Sam would get up from his sleep or his nap and say "Red bag, Mommy home!" then "Red bag, NOW!" after which I would go through the whole explanation again.  It seemed to work to help him somehow understand this long abandonment!  He was appeased by the treats in the bag and was soon playing happily again.  Sam's enthusiasm for all things was a joy -- he does his "happy dance" whenever he gets real excited, revs his body up before taking a run, wants to do everything "Meself," and insists on "hugs" whenever anyone leaves the room or the house!

Upon Mommy's return, Sam wanted both of us to put him to bed for his nap for a time or two, and we shared the responsibilities to keep him happy.  Caleb, in all his 5-year-old wisdom, kept us laughing.  He said that one of the books I was reading to him was too scary and we should wait to read it until he is ten.  "But," he says, "your voice might be too shaky by then!"  Alas, my voice MAY just be shaky by then, so I'm really glad we were able to have all this fun while we still are "young enough" to participate!  Or, upon finding out that there was a scary exhibit at PSC, he said "SAM would really be too scared to see this!"  His other comment was that he would really like to live here again.  And "if we could live with YOU that would be even more awesome!"  We tried to explain to him that we really don't have this much fun all the time, but we are so glad that a good time was had by all! 

We have now cleaned up the entire house, made a trip to Goodwill with toys that weren't popular or have been outgrown, sold the crib we had borrowed, put back the coffee table and the breakables, purged the frig and cupboard of things we'll never eat, and life is "back to normal," a state both wonderful and sadly too quiet!  It IS fun to go out to eat as two adults, take our walks, ride in our convertible, but we cherish the time we had with these two boys.  And their local cousins have gotten reacquainted and formed new memories! 

As grandparents we are truly blessed!