When a beloved family member departs after a most special visit, the void caused by their absence painfully peaks when passing by the recently vacated guest room. As I carry Henry past the spare bedroom this morning, he peers in.
"Nanna?" he asks. His inquisitive face is searching for hers.
"Nanna had to go bye-bye." I explain as a lump swells in my throat. Her absence is only two hours old. Having just woken up, the feelings are fresh. Lifting his tiny hand, he waves to the room.
"Bye, Nanna." And then my heart breaks.
My object today is to transform our aching hearts into grateful hearts. Looking back, we were able to "squeeze" a lot of happy moments into the few days that she was here.
Wednesday morning, Eliza woke up BRIGHT and EARLY. She was excited to see her Nanna.
"I can't keep my eyes closed anymore!" she enthusiastically informed me as she roused me from my bed. The anticipation of their reunion grew. Eliza couldn't see her soon enough! As for Henry, his reaction was more mild but it didn't take him long to warm up to her.
Henry loaded up his grocery cart with four bags of potato chips. These photos were taken before Henry dumped the bucket of water on his head.Driving home, Henry chattered to himself while his sister slept. After Daddy arrived home, we went to dinner at Fatz Cafe, the place where Eliza kindly spilled her open glass of lemonade on Nanna's lap. After dinner, we congregated in the backyard for the distribution of the pile of birthday gifts Nanna brought the kids. Let the spoiling commence!
Henry is set in the department of make believe. I can't say for certain that his days of tiaras and high-heels are over, but things are looking better now that he has a fire chief and train conductor costume to choose from! In addition to their new play clothes, they were given a new train track set and a fresh supply of trains!
Day two was spent at the outlet mall. We picked up our Dad for lunch and then enjoyed the remainder of his break in the sun as the kid's played at the mall's park. That afternoon, Eliza engaged Nanna in five rounds of Candyland. Without letting her, Eliza won each game!
Having had our fill of eating out, I made dinner last night while Nanna read to the children upstairs. She was rewarded by an affectionate two year old named Henry who let her hold him as long as she wanted. As for me, making dinner without the disruption of children made for a most pleasant experience!!
Composure suddenly left me as Nanna and Andrew shuttled the children to the backyard to play. I watched them from the window as my sudden and unwelcome tears fell. I felt cheated and blessed all at once; cheated because we frequently yearn for this type of interaction and blessed because the love that exists between mother and child/grandparent and grandchild is strong and intact. After finishing the dishes, I joined my family for a happy evening.
The children charmed and alarmed their Nanna as she experienced the honest ups and downs of childhood. At times, the stimulation of so much activity was too much for Henry and Eliza's lack of sleep resulted in a verbal tirade or two. Speaking of Eliza, Nanna will be interested to hear that she slept in until 9:30 this morning. The first thing on Henry's to-do list was the train track.
Regardless of the challenging moments, it was Eliza's matter of fact one-liners and her Southern accented phrases that had her bursting in laughter. It was Henry freely given snuggles that melted her. And it was Eliza's continual conversation and ardent invitations to her upcoming birthday party that had the two of us choking up.
"You can bring your swim suit to my party, if you'd like." She'd suggest. After I asked her what changes she'd detected since we last saw her at Christmas, she quickly mentioned Henry's ability to communicate/talk and Eliza's increased intelligence. A moment later she added with a giggle,
"They both bounce when the walk." And it's true. There is a constant bounce in their step.
Thank you Nanna for your sweet attention, thoughtful gifts and heart warming laugh. Thank you for your listening ear, pearls of wisdom and kind letter. We love you and are counting down the days until we see you in Lake Powell.
We love you very much!
p.s. Next time, bring Bubba!!