Sitting by Nana

I’m accustomed to dining alone in restaurants, smiling at small children and making faces at babies while their elders chat and eat.

Seldom do I feel jealous of their familial camaraderie, but sometimes, I hear,

“Nana, sit here. Sit by me!”

“No, I get to sit by Nana. Right, Nana?”

And I long for those days when my grandchildren argued over who would get to sit next to me, the revered Nana, at a meal.

I watched yesterday as two young children clamored to share space with their Nana at lunch. I bit my tongue to keep from saying “Lucky you!” to the Nana being fought over. I wanted to encourage her to savor this time. All too soon these children would be teenagers obsessed with their iPhones or grumbling that they’re bored and they’d rather be with friends or hurrying through lunch because they couldn’t be late for some activity.

Nowadays, when I’m lucky enough to dine with my grandkids, I resist saying,”I want to sit by Garrett (or McKayla or Dominique or Jackson or Harper)” because that just wouldn’t be cool, but I sure think about it.

Peace, people.

Rest and Recuperation

Since the Illinois grandkids left on Thursday I’ve been slowly getting back into my normal routine, but mainly I’ve been catching up on sleep. While the two teenagers weren’t early risers during their visit, the six-year-old came creeping into our room every morning around five.

On the days Studly was working in Orlando I’d just tuck Harper in on her Poppa’s side of the bed, and we’d doze off to the sleep stories featured on my Calm app, but every other morning last week she was ready to eat breakfast way before my eyes were ready to be open. The two of us had some pretty comical conversations about fairies, cities versus states, and family relationships while eating early morning Pop Tarts, so I’m not complaining.

On the Wednesday night before the kids’ 6:25 a.m. flight home we stayed at a hotel that was about a 15 minute drive from the Sanford/Orlando airport. Studly had to work clear across town on Thursday, so it was up to me to get the kids on their way. I set my alarm for three a.m., but Harper’s feet in my face woke me up around two. Gently I moved her back into a position parallel to mine, rather than the perpendicular one she’d assumed.

Then what sounded like four quick gunshots caused grandson Garrett to sit straight up in bed. He never awakened, just quietly laid back down, but I was then on high alert. I tossed and turned until my alarm went off, then stubbed my toe on McKayla’s sofa bed on my way to the bathroom in the dark. I’m really glad the kids all slept through my colorful string of whispered curse words.

The teenagers were surprisingly easy to get going that morning. Oddly enough only Harper, the early riser, resisted. Soon, though, she was up and going full speed. I think the anticipation of seeing her Mommy and Daddy in a few short hours did the trick.

We took the 4:30 a.m. hotel shuttle to the airport and I’d thought that was absurdly early; however, an accident on the Interstate (remember those “gunshots”? Apparently we’d heard a crash) had traffic backed up, and by the time we checked in, went through security, and made it to our gate the flight was boarding.

I hugged my sweet grandkids and watched them board.

They looked so young and yet so capable as they left me.

I rode the shuttle back to the hotel where I’d planned to nap before taking a shower and driving the four and a half hours home to Doright Manor, but I was pretty keyed up after all the morning’s activity, so I packed and got on the road. Emergency crews were still cleaning up the interstate after the crash, so I set my gps to take backroads. About two hours into my trip I found myself unable to keep my eyes open, so I found a shady spot for a nap. After waking myself with a loud snore half an hour later, I continued on home.

Said home was sadly quiet. I busied myself with straightening up some of the mess we’d made over the past week. The Risk game went back into the game closet. The stuffed animals went back into their basket. Two remaining boxes of Pop Tarts went into a grocery bag to be offered to a friend’s children.

Studly arrived home later that evening, and we struggled to stay awake until finally giving up the battle around eight. I slept restlessly that first night without the kids. Part of me wished a sweet six-year-old could still sneak into my room for giggly snuggles before sunrise. Did I mention that it’s too quiet here?

Peace, people.

Out of the Mouths of Babes

One evening during the grandkids’ visit we sat around the dining room table playing a game of Risk. The two older kids and I were locked in a heated battle over the Congo, a territory that changed hands roughly 20 times during the course of the evening. Total world domination depended on taking and keeping that spot.

The youngest grandchild, six year old Harper, was an eager onlooker and rolled the dice for me when I had to take clothes out of the dryer or refresh the snacks.

Apropos of nothing between turns, Harper said, “Nana, I really love your lights over the table.”

“That’s called a chandelier,” sister McKayla said.

“Yeah. I really like your chandelier,” Harper said. “It’s so decorative.”

“Then you can have it when I die,” I said.

After a couple of beats Harper said, “I sure hope you die soon.”

“Harper!” The horrified teenagers said in unison. “Don’t say things like that!”

I just giggled. “Harper, I hope it’s not too soon. My death would keep us from going to Sea World this week.”

“Well, I really want the gems in the bathroom, too.”

“Gems?” I asked.

“You know, the ones you use to turn the water on and off.”

“Whoever buys the house will get all that stuff,” I said.

“Then I’ll buy your house,” Harper replied.

I guess that settles everything.

(Harper’s house has much nicer fixtures than mine does. I’d gladly trade her, and perhaps be granted a longer life.)

Peace, people.

Postcards from the Hedge

The grandkids are safely home in Illinois after spending a week with Studly and me here in Florida. Our time together was much too short, and now Doright Manor is quiet again.

I’m kind of exhausted after spending a full day with grandson, Garrett, at Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure on Wednesday and then getting up at 2:30 a.m. on Thursday to get them to the airport on time. I’m taking the lazy way out and just posting photos of our week with the kids.

Harper liked wearing Poppa’s reading glasses while intoning the phrase, “I’m a little old lady.”

McKayla, above settles into the Texas bedroom.

We went to a showing of Captain Marvel:

And talked about upcoming movies

Garrett chopped down a tree so that we could relocate the fairy house displaced by Hurricane Michael.

McKayla and Harper made the fairy house a welcoming place once again.

We played several games of Risk. I didn’t win even once. It seems that I’m lousy at games involving strategic thinking.

McKayla piloted the riding lawn mower around the yard, collecting fallen limbs and other forest detritus, including her sister.

We enjoyed a beach day at St. George Island:

Well, some of us enjoyed it. Studly and Garrett just tolerated the beach.

The girls had our nails done:

On Wednesday we packed up and left Doright Manor for Orlando. While there we took a tour of Full Sail University so our tech minded grandson could satisfy his curiosity. He was impressed, and now has some work ahead of him in his last two and a quarter years of high school.

The kids swam at the hotel pool in Orlando while I acted as lifeguard.

On Wednesday the girls and Poppa Studly spent the day at Sea World, so I have no photos of that. I heard plenty of stories of fun and silliness, though. Harper even coerced her Poppa into riding a roller coaster. He says it was the last one he’ll ever ride. We’ll see about that.

The girls did get tattoos at Sea World, but I only got a photo of Harper’s when we were back in our hotel room. Garrett and I spent our day at Universal Studios, and I’ll share those pics tomorrow. I know, I know, you’re all on pins and needles to see them. 😂

Peace, people!

Beachy Keen

Yesterday Studly Doright and I took the visiting grandkids to St. George Island for a bit of beach time. The granddaughters and I are beach people. My husband and our grandson are not. Note Studly’s scowl and Garrett’s total disregard for the sand and surf.

Meanwhile, McKayla (below, left) and Harper had fun wrestling the boogie board. I say “wrestling” because neither ever managed to actually ride the darned thing.

Much hilarity ensued while I kept an eye out for any dangers. I didn’t relax much on this beach trip. Still, the sun was glorious and the water was wonderful.

Peace, people!

In Praise of Patience

Late Thursday evening Studly Doright and I returned home to Doright Manor here in the panhandle of Florida. We’d left Port Byron, Illinois, on Wednesday morning after celebrating our middle granddaughter’s birthday with a family breakfast at a restaurant of her choice in Moline. I wish I’d thought to take a photo that morning, but this is our lovely 14-year-old McKayla.

Studly and I departed from Moline and started towards home, only he didn’t take the exit our gps indicated. When I questioned him he just said, “Patience.”

After nearly three hours of patience we ended up in Champaign, Illinois, to have brunch downtown at Sam’s Cafe. We both love Sam’s, where the pancakes are the best and the French toast is out of this world. The old diner on Walnut Street is nothing much to look at, but oh, how we’ve missed it. I’d come down with a cold on Tuesday night, but that French toast tasted like it might cure all my ailments.

We left Sam’s and finally took a southbound road out of Champaign. I figured that since we’d dawdled for the first three hours of the day that Studly would be in a mood to make up some ground. I was wrong. Somewhere south of Marion, IL, he took an exit that had us traveling a winding road through Vienna down to Metropolis where we stopped for a burger at Fat Edd’s Roadhouse before checking in at Harrah’s casino and hotel. I was baffled. It was just barely 5 p.m. We never stop before 7 p.m. when traveling like this. When I asked Studly if he’d been abducted by aliens and reprogrammed to wander aimlessly he just said, “Patience.”

We didn’t go into the casino. Instead we watched tv and snuggled into the first truly comfortable bed we’d had all week. I took cold medicine and slept like a rock for much of the night. As soon as we were back in the car on Thursday morning Studly turned in the opposite direction our gps indicated. I didn’t bother asking what he was doing. “Patience” seemed to be the only answer I’d get anyway.

I should have anticipated that his intended destination was food related. When we lived in Illinois, Studly’s job took him to the Metropolis area often, and there he discovered Rube’s Cafe. Rube’s serves biscuits and gravy made exactly like Studly’s mother makes them, and he’s been dreaming about them since we moved from Illinois six years ago. I had a bacon and cheese omelet while Studly feasted on biscuits and gravy. I believe there was a tear in his eye as we drove away.

The remainder of the trip was fairly straightforward; although, I did plot us a route that avoided major metropolitan areas. We used the gps sparingly, and I navigated us on peaceful backroads through Tennessee, Alabama, Georgia, and Florida.

I seriously enjoy reading maps, and the activity kept me alert all day. Our route added an hour to the original route’s estimated arrival time, but we avoided the stress of the holiday traffic crush, and perhaps some major delays around Nashville in Tennessee, and Birmingham and Montgomery in Alabama.

I’ll take this over the interstate any day:

There’s a lot to be said in favor of patience.

Peace, people.

Christmas Climb

Studly Doright and I celebrated Christmas with our daughter and her family in Port Byron, Illinois. We laughed, exchanged gifts, watched the grandkids’ delight as they explored their new acquisitions, and ate way too much. Our daughter’s in-laws came today, and we really enjoyed our visit with them over lunch. I am so happy knowing that our grandchildren are loved so much by so many people.

I could’ve shared a great many photos from today, but my favorites, by far, were these taken by our son-in-law:

That’s Studly and our youngest grandchild exploring in the woods behind our daughter’s home. The two took off on a walk, crossed a creek via a fallen tree, and climbed the steep banks rising from the creek bed. When they returned to the house their cheeks were rosy and one of them was severely out of breath. I’ll let you guess which one that was. (Hint: It wasn’t the one wearing the unicorn bike helmet.)

We’ll start our trip home tomorrow. I’ll be sad to leave, but we’ll take with us wonderful memories of time spent with the ones we love. I hope your Christmas Day was filled with love and laughter.

Peace, people!

Christmas Eve in Port Byron

Is there anything more wonderful than a Christmas Eve spent with grandchildren?

Studly Doright and I basked in the glow of our Illinois grandkids’ excitement. What a wonderful night spent exchanging gifts and remembering Christmases past! Lots of laughs, smiles, and exclamations of joy filled the night. I’m such a lucky girl.

Peace, people.