IMG_083607.15.13  The Montana grandkids were picked up by their parents yesterday, after a week here at the lake by themselves.  In most years, there is a week in early August when they and their California cousins, their DC aunt and uncle, and respective parents, are here together for a high-energy family reunion with six children between the ages of 2 and 12.  And, there have been a few times in which one or two of the grandkids have been here alone, but this is the first time that all of them in one family have come to stay at Grandma’s.  It was at my invitation, and not because the parents needed childcare.

Some of my friends suggested I was nuts. Perhaps.  But, watching grandchildren grow up has keenly effected my sense of how fast time is going by.  Just a year or so ago, my oldest (the 12-year old) loved to snuggle with me at nap time (mine!) and I would tell him my hiking stories and exciting bear sightings.  Then there was one visit to his house in which he said he didn’t want to take a nap with me, and that was the end.  Suddenly, our relationship had changed as he began rapidly moving away from childhood.  I was stunned, actually.   I began to see into a future in which he would be so busy becoming a teen-ager and young adult that my time with him will slip away.  Maybe I wouldn’t feel this way if we all lived close enough to each another that I was a regular fixture in their lives, but he and his siblings are a seven-hour drive across the state, and then there are the California cousins…too far to attend soccer and football games, music recitals, even birthday parties.  All the things I guess I imagined I would do someday, even though there has been nothing about being a grandparent I could have predicted.

So, we swam in the lake, had s’mores by the campfire, took in a movie at the cineplex, went to a playground, had ice cream, and read a few chapters of Rudyard Kipling’s “Just So Stories.”  We even put up the old badminton set we’d had in the backyard of our Colorado home,  some twenty years ago now, when my girls were teen-agers.  Fletcher is the only one old enough to play.   I was quite rusty at first, but by the end of the week, we set a volley record of 24 hits.   As the parents were packing their van, we were still trying to make it to 25, and as they left, he told me, “You and Grandon should practice by yourselves before we come back next month so you can get better.”

I think I will.  He has no idea, of course, at how I am practicing being a grandmother all of the time.

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