Last week I was on vacation and one of the things I did, besides the mundane chores of painting the front porch steps and sorting/donating a bunch of stuff cluttering the basement, I spent a day with my younger brother. He took me out to lunch at a Mexican restaurant in downtown Vancouver and on the way back to his home we decided to take a drive thru our old neighborhood. To our surprise, 'our' house was up for sale, with an information box with flyers inside tacked on to the "For Sale" post. If anyone was home they'd had no idea who we were so I jumped out of my brother's Aston Martin -- a waaaaaaaaaaaaay cool car, by the way -- to grab a flyer. Since the time period we both lived there, in the late 1960s-1970s, a whole lot of remodeling has gone on and even tho the basic floor plan is the same it doesn't look anything like it did when we were teens. It's gorgeous. The windows to the right of the front door belong to what used to be my bedroom. It's since been converted to a home office with beautiful French doors. The upstairs, which used to be an unfinished attic, is now a huge master bedroom suite with a sitting area in the front gable. The kitchen is to die for. Sigh......if only my parents had been blessed with the money to update it! When they bought it in 1968 they paid something like $11,900 for it. Today it is selling for $239,900. Whoa. One thing it has going for it is it's located in a neighborhood near downtown that is being revitalized, with lots of old bungalow and tudor and Craftsmen homes that have been purchased and revamped. As beautiful as it is I wouldn't want to live there again. Too many bad memories. I suppose you can go home again, but it isn't always a wise choice to do so.
You haven't experienced real life until you've volunteered in a preschool with 15 rambunctious, energetic, inquisitive, precocious, adorable 4-year-olds. What a hoot! Cooper and I spent the morning yesterday with Dylan and his classmates and I can't remember the last time 3 hours have passed so quickly. We played out on the playground, danced/wiggled/jiggled to music, played "What's Your Name" as we tossed a beanbag around the circle, had snack time, craft time, play time, story time. I took blocks and built a huge roadway for the little boys to drive their cars and trucks on. I played doll house with Ava. Ezra and Sumalee followed me around like shadows. I helped several go potty. I didn't have time to feel like the 'odd man out' being the only Grandma there amongst 3 younger mothers...I was too busy! Tho I did have a nice conversation during story time with one of the mothers as she and I swept up the sand around the sand table. I told her what a wonderful experience it is for both Dylan and Cooper to have this exposure to other kids because with being a stay-at-home Grandma I don't really have a network of friends with little ones to spend time with. She told me that she doesn't, either, and with her little boy James heading off for kindergarten next year she was becoming very concerned about him being too isolated. So many mothers work now. Besides James she also has a little one who is Cooper's age...so maybe on one of their 'off' days from school I'll invite her over so the four of them can play together.
One thing I love about each new generation of kids starting school is to take note of the names. When I was a girl it seemed like every other girl was named Debbie or Susan. When my daughter was in school it was Jennifer and Amy. I loved the combination of names yesterday, of the ones I can remember: Leo, two Violets, Ava, Sumalee, James, Ezra, Ian, Parker, Kaden, Ruby, Clara, Evelyn, Emmett. We seem to be heading back in to 'old fashioned' names, the ones that were popular when my mom was a girl.
Each little phase of the grandboys' childhood is so bittersweet. I didn't have the time or take the time when I was a young parent to realize that, for most of us, one time around the parenthood circuit is the only one we get. We're too tired, too stressed, too young ourselves to know how much we should savor each moment as we're living it. But, oh, how time and age gives us such a different perspective! This time I know it's the last time for me. I don't necessarily want to stop time and keep them little forever, but there are days I wish it would slow down a little bit! But, no...Time waits for no one.