This weekend we went to Atlanta to pick up The Precious Child for her summer visit. (Amanda has lost her personal identity as she is usually referred to as The Precious Child’s mother). The only way Amanda is allowed to live in North Carolina with TPC is if we get her for the summer. When she was just a hatchling, we let it slide, but as soon as she could be away from Moma for a bit, we got her. How old were your grandchildren when they came to stay with you?
At first it was just a week, then two and now by golly, we get three. There are just too many things to do on the weekends so we need that extra bit. Since Nort’s mother is the only Great-Grandmother she has, we do make sure to get her to Arkansas to visit Nana. The year of My Littlest Pet Shop was a really cute visit. She had to show Nana each and every one and tell her all about them.
Then there was the year of Monster High. Nana met all of them and learned the backstory of all the dolls (and there were a lot of them). I’m not so sure Nona ever really got the big difference between Draculaura and Frankie Stein. On one visit Nana taught TPC some piano. I don’t know who enjoyed it the most. It was so beautiful to watch and of course, we do have a little bit of video. TPC was so proud of herself and of course it just convinced us a little bit more that she was the smartest and most talented child ever.
Nort and his first wife never did have children, and he wasn’t around his niece and nephew that much when they were little or young children, so babies and toddlers were not his strong suite. Before TPC, we had a GodGrandDaughter, Katie. It was funny, when Katie was itty bitty, she liked me. After all, I was Queenie and Jana was good enough to allow me to share her Granddaughter. Then, when she hit toddler age, she would shriek if I looked at her too long, let alone get near her. Fairly early in our courtship, Nort and I went to visit Jana (my best friend since the 5th grade), Gary (her husband), Shannon (GodDaugher) and Katie. I had warned him that Katie was really shy, but that was okay with him as he certainly didn’t expect to be holding or playing with a toddler. He was perfectly content to just sit and look at them. We did the meet and greet thing, Katie hid from me and finally got around to sitting down in the living room. Try as I might, Katie would not get near me, but as soon as I stood up and went into the kitchen, she did make her self comfortable in Nort’s lap. As long as he was there, she would allow me to get close. Deep sigh. Fortunately, she did get over that, but she is the one who christened Nort as Popa.
Amanda was due around Thanksgiving so Mother and I flew down to be there for the big event. After Thanksgiving dinner at his mom’s, Nort drove from Camden, Arkansas to Cameron, North Carolina by himself to join us. Needless to say, he had never been around a seriously pregnant woman. The alien moving around in Amanda’s belly both fascinated and horrified him. Basically, all he could do was stare at the grotesque sight, afraid to look away. I’m pretty sure the scene from Alien was foremost in his mind. Mother had to get back before the baby came (at that point, no one knew the sex since she would not cooperate for the ultrasound) and Shannon and Katie came down to help Amanda out. One of my favorite pictures is of Nort and Katie on the floor coloring. Alas, we had to leave before the arrival so I cried all the way through North Carolina and part of the way through Tennessee. Turns out she was waiting for her Daddy to get home from Afghanistan. We didn’t get to meet her until she was about three weeks old. Our hearts melted immediately.
Shortly before TPC’s first visit, we went to the grocery store to stock up on her favorite foods. I said to Nort, “Hand me that ……….” “No” was the reply. “EXCUSE me? Did you just say no?” “Well” was the rejoinder, “Maddie may ask me for something some day and I’ll have to say No and so I have to practice.” Granted, it took him some time, and it is never easy, but after twelve years, he has developed the ability to not only say no to her, but to also scold her. Though he does say his job is to love on her and comfort her when either I or her mother have to straighten her out a bit. Nort spent many years as a lawyer and one of the few things he liked about that was the art of argument. He is going to win. As if. Has anyone won and argument with a four year old? And, for every why, he has a complete response and explanation. He was in hog heaven during the “why” years going into great detail and presenting every fact as to “why”. However, I was driven freaking nuts. More than once I had to threaten both of them with being put out on the side of the road.
Each year we have some things that more or less tradition and some that are special to that year. For a couple of years, when I was the office manager of a small water utility, Maddie went to work with me. She had her own desk and specific tasks and was paid. Of course there was lots of play time and various stuffed bears and dolls went to work too. She and Popa have built things and gone on their own outings. We have gone on motor home trips and taken her friends. (There was the trip where we kept telling the girls not to swim or play too near the boat ramp but they just couldn’t resist. That is until they saw the alligator swimming with them.) This year, we are going back to New Orleans (where she saw her very first vampire) for a special treat. TPC and Popa are going to walk pit bulls with the parolees. Why? Because she wants to. Enough said. What do you do with your grandchildren when they visit?