When my son, his wife, and four children visit me from Maryland, my house is different. It’s really never quiet or dark, even at night. The two youngest require nightlights at night. One light is a dinosaur, the other a shell. I pitch a tent in my yoga room for them. The two older children require more stimulation to keep them occupied. I have lots of books, toys, games, plus an old typewriter, which is a big hit.
The Pacific Ocean is nearby which is always a draw. We can spend a whole day there, which I did as a child at Lake Michigan beaches. We visit the SB Zoo, the Museum of Science, a train museum, walk around a lake. One of their most favorite activities is a trip to the 99 cent store. I give each of them five dollars, and mention they have the option to keep it all, spend part, or all of it. The five year old spends his while we barely walk into the store, while the eldest, at 12, spends his carefully, and keeps three dollars. We make sour cream waffles with fresh blueberry topping, their favorite apple pancake, which we call “happy apple pancake.” We watch Japanese anime movies, especially my favorite, “My Neighbor Totoro”, while eating freshly-popped popcorn.
I get hotel rooms for my son and his wife in order to give them a break, while in reality, it’s to have time alone with the four grandchildren, all to myself. They are love embodied!! They stay up late, having already brushed and flossed earlier in the evening, knowing they will “crash.” The next morning we go out to my backyard where they climb my avocado tree to pick avos, then find oranges, lemons, perhaps some arugula, basil, tomatoes, and peppers. My oldest grandson likes to prune roses, re-pot plants, and plant new seeds into pots and into the ground! Life is so sweet!
After they leave, my house appears as if a hurricane swirled mightily every which way. I find a random sock, a puzzle piece, a doll, a pair of glasses, a book, and papers with drawings.
Quiet prevails; I hear myself breathe for the first time since their arrival…