Sunday, September 20, 2009

Small hands, BIG hearts

It's always such a blessing to spend time with our grandchildren as we rarely get to since the distance between us is so vast.

There are times I mourn the ability to have them drop by, even just to give their mommies a break, or their parents a weekend alone together.

There are times I examine the emotions of our youngest daughter especially, knowing she misses her nieces deeply. About the same ages, they are friends more than just auntie and nieces. She speaks with some of them almost daily on the telephone, sharing their love of all sorts of topics together during their hearty chats where laughter ensues and promises are made.

During our recent visit, I was amazed by week's end over how well the children played together.

One year made such a difference in maturity, charity and eagerness to savor their special moments in one another's midst.

Our son knew he had a grueling and full week ahead of him to complete all of the priming, filling, sanding and painting before the multitude of paint cans were empty. Our colors were chosen, but it was a holiday weekend and we had two extra days before we could purchase the paint.

Since they had arrived late on the Saturday evening, time spent collecting themselves with the time change and attending mass on Sunday was in due order before anything else. Spending some quality time with him was terrific too because he's a mover and a shaker so once he gets going, he works from sun up to sun down, a fast and furious pace with 14 hours days.

Once Monday came, he and his brother ventured out for play in tree tops, loving all three hours performing feats up to 55 feet in the air, using ziplines and enjoying their bonding time way up high. Time passed quickly though, and before he knew it, it was time to head off and meet me to purchase all of the painting supplies and get started on the mammoth project before him.

Bartering is a sweet deal for both parties, believe me. A project of enormous financial proportions if we had hired someone off the street, our son rendered his serviced in exchange for our vehicle, you know, the one I wrote about OVER HERE, the one we didn't know what to do with because of the insurance dilemma ahead.
While our grandbabies daddy worked, they were busy beavers with their auntie and uncle, full days making memories and sharing bonding moments.

For example; the past few months, our almost 9yo grand-daughter and our daughter have made a promise to one another for saving up funds to purchase a horse together, sharing it evenly.

There has been no consideration for the geographical logistics of such an investment joint venture, though they continue to plunge forward planning even more details, deciding both that the horse could live on our property when they build the barn for it to live in. Sure we have acreage, but they don't understand it's zoned residential and horses wouldn't be allowed here.

Ah, the joy of childhood and imaginations to keep our hearts beating wildly with sincere joyous pleasures of innocence captured and not yet lost.
These two gals just spent a week of blissful vacation time together when our son and his two older children arrived for his work venture and the children's pleasure. :-)

These young ladies had horse fever on their minds every hour of the day, outside of few other things. I was able to secure a riding lesson and a trail ride for both of them at the same time, and plenty of other opportunities at the barn just to gaze at the babies, and obtain barn detailing instruction for our grand-daughter's task orientation of real life at the stables. She cleaned stalls, ran a wheelbarrow of horse poop and hay around, helped out her aunties with feeding and watering, saddling for trail rides for others, watching older girls during their jumping lessons, and plain ole cowboy fun times. While the girls did their horse thing, the boys were;
  • knights in our castle tents,
  • wrestled
  • hung out with our other boys
  • watched our son paint
  • played games
  • made puzzles
  • kicked a soccer ball
  • and shot a hockey puck to our bright red hockey nets on our gravel driveway.

Always busy with imaginative play, it was heart swelling to observe them and the closeness developed in just one year since they were last visiting with us. The animals were never so loved, never so well brushed or so well exercised.

Our grand-daughter begged to have one of our bunnies....please daddy? Together all four ran as much as our runner dogs. We were able to get to the zoo, good times had by all. The water's edge called our names, fun in the sun experienced by all, even me.

All rummaged through our dress up trickle trunk, and snickers ensued when our own children discovered how small some of their favorites were now.
Swords, shields, and viking hats were usually strewn throughout the house Lego and Duplo architecture formations were to be admired Playmobil scenery and casting took on a new flair day to day, everything historical was used and each dressed in appropriate garments from our stash of dress up to match.

Most importantly, all four of the children slept deeply, waking refreshed each day and ready to go at it yet again, always eager to find out what was on the agenda by breakfast time. Teary eyes seemed to spring up two days before they were all to leave, thoughts of saying goodbye made the girls become all emotional but they were brave right up until the van drove out of the driveway before 4am on the final day.

All of the painting was complete just 12 hours prior to departure time, and twice during the week our son was still painting when my husband left for work in the wee hours of the morning.

Who says time zone changes don't affect the human body? He had quite a time keeping his focus on eastern time changes, poor guy.
Apprenticed at a young age, followed by becoming a manager at a nationwide paint supply store, this young man has a savvy about him for his work ethics and doubled up his energies to complete the task in well over half the time any other painter could perform the same amount on such a work order.

Nowadays his career has taken a drastic turn and painting is a sideline for pleasure or more bartering. Just ask his wife. Together they enjoy purchasing and renovating homes to incredible decor levels for their own personalized pleasures in affordable ways.

Interestingly our oldest daughter enjoys the challenge of similar tasks, as does our oldest son who is responsible for 50 crews of painters in a renovation company, an inspector who has assisted us in many ways for noting our own deficiencies in this home to our builder on such things.

It's always swell to fly over and visit with each of them, noting changes in their homes but most of all, knowing they enjoy working in harmony within their homes to get the task complete. A helping hand is always a great asset, and if it comes from a sibling, even better. We are so proud of them in all they do.

Back to my story here...

In due timing, the early morning arrived when all woke to the alarm clocks shortly before 3:30am. It was time to begin their departure for the ambitious 42 hour trek across the country back home again.

This one way trip home was in the new-to-them vehicle, and the children were so compliant at rising, eager to get on their way to be with their younger siblings and mommy again.

The only piece of information I've left out thus far was the fact my own husband was to accompany them during this trek, happy to have the bonding time along the way and a visit back west he's been unable to have in well over eighteen months.

Many factors inhibited the trip and were worthy to take precautions over. Fatigue is the biggest enemy, often arriving when least expected, oxygen levels plummeting for no reason up to thirty points in a jiffy, air quality control was an issue within a vehicle for such a long journey, hotels would have to have requirements for non-allergen issues, and traveling through the prairie provinces during harvest/heavy pollen seasons were to be acknowledged. Included in my hubby's wallet is his emergency medical profile and drug list, always something to be aware of in case of emergency, and a cell phone with a full battery 24/7 is a must.

If a woman planned such a trip, at least a few details would be drawn up initially, but these men had no real plans. They figured with a GPS and mapquest in hand was satisfactory, and other than that, they purchased plenty of water and a few snacks ahead of time. Ummm... a calculated 42 hour trip as adults is one thing, with children yet another.

My husband did well by purchasing cozy blankets for the children to wrap themselves into or using as a pillow when all rolled up again. I purchased a sweet supply of goodies and included all in a goodie bag, surprising the children by having it on their seats when ready to leave the driveway.

Reportedly, these men drove across the country in only three days, two nights at hotels and the children were super fantastic! Each man decided they would switch driving after performing 500km each, and the other would sleep.

Fortunately for these two, they know HOW to take great power naps and become restful from them, so they kept an eye out for one another all along the way.

When asking our grand-daughter how she liked her trip, her reply made me smile. She said; "Nana it was great! Did you know we got to drive through the Canadian Rocky Mountains?".

And our grandson said; "Nana thank you for letting us borrow a few games for our daddy's old (original) gameboy".

We got some special grandbabe time together while these two were visiting with us, but my hubby was able to capture more hugs and kisses during his visit than I. He was filled with great joy at their total abandon for him, from our teary eyed oldest grand-daughter hugging him goodbye and telling him she loved him, right down to our youngest (20 months) who ran across the lawn and lay her head down to cry when he left. Soooo sweet!

Memories are definitely made of these.

Heart swelling moments forever....

And I equipped my man with my former camera, believe it or not, and he never took ONE photo all ACROSS the country, nor while he was visiting back west.

Some people...... snicker....