Mr. H. and I are planning a trip to North Carolina this weekend to visit our oldest daughter and her family. We’re really looking forward to it! With everyone so busy these days, we don’t get to see them nearly as often as we’d like. It seems her two kids grew up when we weren't looking! Her son has already graduated from college and is working, while her daughter is in her third year of college. Seems like just yesterday they were coming to visit with two energetic toddlers who turned the house upside down!
We were always happy to have them visit, but when they left, we had to rest for at least two days! To say they were active kids would be an understatement. And I’ve never seen little kids survive on so little sleep. My daughter would not allow afternoon naps because that meant they wouldn’t want to go to bed at night. So all the sleep they got was from about 8:30 to 9 P.M. until around 6:30 A.M.
Well, no morning person this gal; that was pure torture for me! During the winter months, it was still dark when they woke us and I had to get up and start cooking breakfast. Then it was a whole day of playing games and chasing after them, making lunch and dinner and bedtime snacks. It’s just a good thing we were much younger then.
Somehow, we survived those visits, but as happy as we were to see their headlights as they pulled into the driveway, I must confess, we were sometimes just as happy to see their taillights moving out of the driveway as they were leaving, the smiling and waving continuing until they were out of sight. The love you feel for your children and grandchildren is genuine but it doesn’t stop you from getting exhausted, especially when their schedule is totally different from yours.
The years passed, the kids started school, began making friends and getting involved in their own activities, and the visits became fewer... and fewer. Guess what? We miss those hectic times! As we watched them grow up - from afar - we would love to have stopped time or gone back a few years. But, as you know, we can't do that. Once a day is gone - it's gone forever! The only way we can go is forward.
Now, we visit them about twice a year and, of course, we have phone calls and e-mail. And they always come home for the major holidays. These are wonderful times. The holiday memories will live forever in all of us!
We have other grandchildren who live closer and have spent more time with us, so we don’t have this feeling of “missing” so much of their lives like we do with the two who’ve always lived several hundred miles away.
And yet, they’ve grown up quickly, too. Time seems to evaporate. If only we could hold onto the special times forever. But we cannot. That's why we must squeeze every bit of joy possible from each day, and cherish each moment we spend with those we love.