It being a smaller airport, we disembarked on the tarmac and had to walk to the terminal, all of 50 meters. Behind the glass of the viewing lounge, we could see four arms waving excitedly. Any residue of a sardine packed flight melted away as we drew closer to the embrace of the three most beautiful grand children and their mother. Their Dad was sleeping after a night shift.
Now our vacation was beginning to feel real as we slowly made our way through the terminal with all three grandchildren draped on our legs. They had us in their grasp and were not letting go; period! Although I am sure that many people have had the same experience, this one, in my mind, was just more special, maybe because we could claim them as ours. And we would be able to enjoy them for the next two weeks.
Because of the wonderful use of often speaking and seeing them on Skype they did not make strange as young children are want to do; they had just come to us running. It was as if we had just left them for only a day rather than almost a year! It was not until we were on the drive to their home that we learned that their family was going through a bout of flus and colds, but that did not deter us from having a good time.
Five-year-old (soon to be six) granddaughter was eager to show off her skills in Tae Kwan Do, Highland Dance and what she was learning in her Home School Kindergarten, while the three-year-old granddaughter handed us each an envelope with pictures she had drawn just for us. The one-year-old grandson was a typical one-year-old whirling dervish; busy without stopping, except for a few repeated quick hugs or a tickle. We were in our glory!
While we walked along the beach, the oldest was telling us all the information we could ever want but were afraid to ask for about the lives of whales and sea lions, as the middle one filled her pockets with small pretty stones and shell fragments and the youngest kept busy looking for any pool of water to jump in.
There being no TV in their house made for a variety of entertaining projects and games to fill the time. I don’t think I’ve read as many books in one sitting as when reading to the grandkids. Even the one year old sat in rapt attention and joined in the chorus asking for more stories. Playdough time was an experience in total loss of control. No wonder they say that grandkids keep you young, but they were wearing this senior out with all their excitement and activities. As with all children that age, the noise level is usually kept at a high level, something we are no longer used to.
Whenever you have a family of two or more children you begin to see the different characteristics in each one. It seems strange that three kids in the same household being treated and taught the same can be so different in attitude and response. These three were definitely that; one a serious yet playful student, a wannabe activist and animal rescuer, the second an extremely loving but sensitive activity director, while the third was just a plain ‘get out of my way, I’m busy’ almost two-year-old.
As busy and noisy as it was, when it comes from a family of happy, well-loved children, it is not an irritant, but a time of rest from our everyday life. After almost a year without that rest, we came away from our vacation with a sense of refreshment and renewal.
Chris Salomons is the kitchen co-ordinator at Potters Hands.