My kids don’t see their great grandparents all that often, but whenever they do, there is an immediate connection.
When they came for a visit last week, the children wasted no time claiming them as personal entertainment makers, plying them with books and board games, and showing off their newly learned piano songs.
The Greats jumped right in with remarkable gusto, reading book after book, playing multiple games of chess, explaining the purpose of each of the pills they had to take, and telling stories.
This time around, my grandmother brought her childhood Bible school books, yellowed but in excellent condition, for my kids. She gave my youngest girl a lesson out of it, reading the story to her and quizzing her with the follow-up questions. My girl basked in the one-on-one attention—grandma all to herself!
Soaking them up, that’s what my children did while they were here. When grandpa was sitting by the fire working on the crossword puzzle, my daughter silently pulled a wooden chair alongside his soft one and quietly worked on her (rediscovered) knitting. The kids wanted to sit beside them at the table and ride with them in their car on the evening outing. They wondered where the grandparents went when they disappeared for naps, and how long till they’d come back downstairs.
But my children also exhibited an uncharacteristic reserve, too. A bit in awe of these folks with the wrinkles and white hair and walking cane, they didn’t argue too loudly or crowd them too roughly. They watched their grandparents closely, occasionally coming to me with little whispered reports: I was talking to grandpa but he never said anything because he didn’t hear me!
When I was tucking my daughter into bed the evening they arrived, she asked me their age, which I didn’t know. She didn’t say all that much after that, but I could tell she was both impressed and saddened by my guessed number—it was high. They won’t be around forever and she knows that.
This same time, years previous: a boy book, my apple lineup, chicken and white bean chili, peanut butter cream pie, horseback riding, my year of homeschool torture, chicken salad, Chinese cabbage and apple salad, why I homeschool