Tuesday, September 4, 2012
You can get all A's and still flunk life. ~ Walker Percy
This is my 4 year old grandson Cooper. What a hoot. Mr. Personality Plus...can you tell? He was at loose ends today without his big brother around. Even tho Dylan went for only a few hours on his first day of 1st grade, Cooper knows that from this point forward Dylan will be in school full time every day, from 9 am to 4 in the afternoon. But it's not like Coop's going to be stuck with just me all week long. Tomorrow he begins preschool and he'll be attending it M/W/F afternoons from noon 'til 3. I'll have enough time to pick him up, get him settled in the car, and head over to Dylan's school in time for his dismissal. I think I'll be starting an old habit again, of keeping a book in the car to read while I'm waiting. I did that in the years my kids were in school and our son was involved in sports and it was my sanity saver. There's nothing more boring than sitting with nothing to do. And I'll be doing a lot of sitting. And waiting. Tho once I pick Cooper up and we go park at Dylan's school there won't be time to read because Coop and I will be playing "Donut Shop" or "Ice Cream Shop", a couple of games he created last year when we'd wait for Kindergarten to get out. Both games involve taking my order, giving me donuts or ice cream, and charging me anywhere from 5 cents to a million dollars for them. I make up some pretty wild combinations and no matter how off the wall they are, amazingly Cooper always has them on hand. Now, that's my kind of businessman!
The boys' other grandma left for home in Texas a few weeks ago and I'm now back to taking care of them full time. We've made a change this time, tho. I now take care of them at their house...it's just easier and my daughter-in-law and I were both agreed upon it, even if it will be a bit of a challenge figuring it all out at tax time. Even tho our yard is fenced, theirs is huge and shaded a good portion of the day so the boys are able to play outside all day long if they want to. The dog is there, and we don't have to worry about Max having any accidents. There's a little boy a year older than Dylan who lives a couple houses down the street who they love to play with and the neighbor in between doesn't mind if the kids wander thru their yard as all three go back and forth from Zach's house to the kids'. The area is big and open and I can sit on the deck and read and keep an eye on them at the same time. On nice-weather days we can walk Dylan to school, even on Cooper's preschool days. Starting next year in Kindergarten Cooper will be going to the same school and for the entire day as well, so it makes perfect sense to center the day care around their house, their neighborhood now. Plus it cuts down on the wear and tear of my own house! And there aren't any toys to put away at the end of the day! I go home to a nice clean and peaceful home! An added plus is I can help out my daughter-in-law, too, with laundry and dishes and keeping the toy population under control there as well. It's a win/win situation, if you ask me.
I think I wrote something not long ago about the bittersweetness of reaching the same milestones with my grandsons that I also experienced with my own two children as they were growing up. I can't remember if it was in a blog post, or just something I mentioned on my Facebook page, but I think most of who read it didn't quite 'get' what I was trying to explain. The first time around, with my children, I was a young parent often frazzled and overwhelmed with the busyness and responsibilities of making sure my kids were well taken care of and safe. When they both reached school age it was like I could take a bit of a breath and relax a bit. But by the time I caught that breath, they were adults. Just like that! And yet, as I was living thru those years, they seemed to stretch out. Now, tho...oh my word. My grandsons' babyhoods have been a vapor. A blip on my radar screen. And I am so incredibly blessed to have had the privilege to be there for them, to have such an active part in their early years. The bond we have is amazing. This time around I am soberly aware of the fact, even in times of great joy, of celebrating the moments of their childhood, that this is truly my last time around on this part of the life cycle. I am close to 60 years old now. They still have some years ahead of them before they reach adulthood. My husband and I are finding as we age that time seems to accelerate and we see this especially true as we witness them grow. As a young mother I used to pray and ask the Lord to let me live long enough to see my children reach adulthood, and He's allowed that. I was so young then I didn't exactly assume that I would but the odds were in my favor. And now...well, now I take it all a day at a time and thank the good Lord for every day I have with them on earth.
It was 18 months ago today that I boarded a plane with my son, my daughter, and my two grandsons, flying to Detroit to be reunited with Dear Hubby and my daughter-in-law who'd driven ahead of us so Max, the family dog, could move along with us, too. I didn't have a clue, not even remotely, of what to expect when I got here. I didn't anticipate that our mortgages were hung up in a huge snafu that had to be sorted out by Bill the Real Estate Guy and Sam the Mortgage Officer who were our guardian angels and moved heaven and earth to get new mortgages started and closed in record time. We managed to survive hotel living with two very bored and restless little boys for over two weeks while we waited, and I hope we never have to go thru that again. We were signing papers and moving in by the 20th of March, I believe it was. I didn't anticipate how much I would love it here, how absolutely beautiful Michigan and the upper Midwest are. How spectacular Autumns are...how sweet and softly Springs arrive. I never dreamt I'd ever grow used to the heat and humidity of the Summers...but I have. And Winter? Well, we've been told countless times we haven't experienced a 'real' Michigan Winter yet so I haven't been able to form an opinion on those. I thought I would be homesick. I thought I would miss the mountains and the Pacific Ocean. Maybe I'd seen enough mountains and ocean surf in my lifetime before moving here to get my fill, but I don't miss them at all. To take their places are the enormous skies...the awesomeness of the Great Lakes. I remember one drive with Dear Hubby, traveling along the vast plains west of Chicago, witnessing a sunrise to the east of us as we watched a lunar eclipse to the west at the same time as both orbs sat on the horizons. I have seen ice heaves pushing against the northern shores of Lake Michigan in winter time. I have crossed the straits between Lake Michigan and Lake Huron as we've driven across the Mackinac Bridge. I have heard such a rich variety of bird song...watched Cardinals flash in the towering tree canopies over my head. I have seen fireflies and Monarch butterflies. I know what side of "the mitten" I live on, and I have driven around "the thumb". I had been on the southern edge of the tornado that ripped thru Dexter, Michigan, earlier this year. I have laid next to Dear Hubby on the living room floor at nite, gazing up thru our big picture window as a furious thunder storm passed over our house, marveling at the power of the winds, the rains, the boom of the thunder and flashes of lightning that ripped the sky apart. And as much as I loved the Pacific Northwest...well, this...this is home now.