Published in the Rains County Leader on October 8, 2019:
In May I wrote a column titled “Feeling my age” after spending a week wielding a paint brush on our porch. However, I am finding that there’s nothing like a week with a ten-year-old, my granddaughter Zoe, and a fifteen-year-old, my grandson Mattias, to make a person really feel her age! Don’t get me wrong, I love these two beautiful young people, but keeping up with them as they race through life is a little more demanding than keeping up with Kitty’s nap schedule.
A couple of weeks ago I received a text from my son Christian asking if we could stay with the kids for a few days while he and his wife took a parents-only vacation. Since our social calendar was clear and we had no doctor’s appointments, I jumped at the chance. Plans were made, and they set about the arduous task of pulling away from their demanding responsibilities for a week. I set about sharing our plans with anyone who might be inclined to call for a police welfare check if they didn’t see us for a few days.
We arrived on Tuesday, for grandparent orientation and schedule briefing and were able to help with last minute trip preparations. They have lived in their 100-year-old home in Granbury – two blocks from the historic town square – less than a month and don’t have a washer and dryer. Christian, Zoe, and I spent some time bonding over take-out burritos at the Laundromat while Amy was at a meeting and David and Mattias held down the fort at home.
Duties related to getting a reluctant teen and a tween who hates mornings up and off to school were handled by parents on Wednesday. Then, they left at 11:00 am, and David and I were on our own. At 3:30 I met Zoe’s bus, and she and I played a rousing game of Jenga and perused her fund-raiser catalogues while David went to pick up Mattias at 4:30. We made it to Youth Group at 5:30, picked them up at 7:00, and did some metal detecting in the front yard. Even though we only found a metal-laced rock and an old nail, they were fascinated with the process. We promised a trip to the swim beach for more treasure hunting the next day, and then it was bedtime. One day down – six to go!
Day two started well enough; we were at the bus stop when Zoe’s bus came, and Mattias was at school in time for band rehearsal. Zoe came home with exciting news – she had received an award for a science test and she had been named Student of the Month in her class – but she was missing her parents. When I told her that, with the near triple digit temperature, a trip to the swim beach was not a good idea, she deflated. We decided to eat dinner first and try the beach near sundown, but she was still droopy and toyed with what little food she took. But just as we were finishing, she received a call and was able to share her big news on a Face Time with her parents. She was like a different child after that. Our trip to the beach wasn’t a success by most standards, but the kids were thrilled with our finds: a quarter, several tent pegs, and the rusty head of a three-pronged pitch fork. I was thrilled that, since they were both sandy and sweaty, they didn’t argue about taking bedtime showers.
Friday was crazy – all day long. Not only did I have to get the kids up and ready to leave the house by 6:50, but we also had to be ready to attend the 7:30 Morning Meeting at Zoe’s school. Of course, we did whatever it took to see Zoe get her “Student of the Month” award. Later in the day, we bought tickets for the homecoming game and made another trip to Mattias’s school with black socks for his band uniform. With our grandparent duties done for a few hours, we walked to the square again to check out a few things we had missed the day before, and before we knew it, it was game time. Our team won convincingly, and the band gave an awesome performance of their contest show. Another good day in the books.
We all slept late on Saturday, and didn’t leave the house until time for the matinee of the Reza Edge of Illusion show at the Opera House. We all loved it and talked about it all the way home for a late lunch. A trip back to the square for candy and ice cream followed by the Granbury Ghosts and Legends Tour ended an almost perfect day. As Mattias was getting ready for bed, he broke out in an itchy, fast-spreading rash. Turns out it’s not a good idea to pose for a picture on a hay bale if you have grass allergies. After a few frantic texts between parent and grandparents, a couple of antihistamine capsules, and a cool shower, sanity was restored and day four came to an end.
No one wanted to get up Sunday morning, but after a quick stop at the donut shop, we made it to Sunday School only a few minutes late. We had a fast food lunch and a fun discussion of 1960s slang, and as I write this, the kids are playing Mind Craft and David and I are watching football. Christian and Amy will be home in 48 hours, and we’ll be on our way back to our quiet, sedentary life. I’m looking forward to spending some time with my old, swollen feet up and no schedule to worry about but my own. Still, I will miss these kids, and I hope we’re leaving behind as many happy memories as we’re taking with us.