Grandparents like to keep things ‘even’ between their grandkids and I am no exception. I wrote an article about the oldest one and here is one for the youngest. We have 2 Grand-boys – 5 years apart.
The first child or grandchild is usually a ‘trial child’ in what you allow or don’t allow or , what they can or can’t eat, or what they can do or can’t do. When the first grandchild was born, we lived 13 hours away from them. When he was three years old, we brought him home with us from a visit there and he was an angel all the long drive home. When we were 2 miles from home, Dan asked once, “Are we there yet?” He stayed a week, enjoyed himself up until the time his parents came by to take him home.
When the 2nd child came along five years later, everyone was somewhat ‘relaxed’ about having ‘young-uns’ in the house again. When new arrival, Drew, turned three, we had relocated and were now only 2 and a half hours away. We were relaxed and practiced grandparents and looked forward to taking the smallest one home with us. Big brother was in school and one weekend we drove up to pick up our visitor to bring him back with us for a “vacation”.
Drew was very excited about being with us. We enjoyed going on ‘Tommy’s Train’ in Wilmington and spoiling him for anything he wanted for lunch and bought a big shopping bag for souvenirs, T-shirts and train replica kits. We had a wonderful first day. Happily tired, we went home, had a snack and got ready for bed. I did the dishes, Papa rocked him in the rocking chair and we sang songs.
Finally, I brought him into his bed, tucked him in and kissed him goodnight. He was very quiet as I left the room. Ten minutes later when I checked on him, he hadn’t moved from where I left him. When I came around to his side, I noticed right away that not only was he not sleeping but streams of tears were cascading down his little face.
Alarmed he might be ill, I asked him questions and he shook his head no to all. When I asked if he was missing mommy & daddy & brother, he nodded yes. I told him if he felt like this in the morning, we would drive him home. He nodded yes. I noticed, too, that we forgot to take along ‘Lamb’, his going-to-sleep-since-birth partner. I called his home so he could speak to his parents and he then went into a sound sleep.
I was hoping he would forget this in the morning, but he got up and started packing. We didn’t even ask if he still wanted to go home as we all got in the car and drove the two and a half hours to his home.
When we arrived, there was an unknown car in the driveway – a military buddy and his wife were visiting his parents. We all went into the house, exchanged greetings and explained our return. Shortly thereafter, we said our goodbyes to everyone to drive back home. Drew shouted, “Nonna, WAIT!” He collected his gear we had brought back with us (and this time Lamb was included) and Drew said “I’m ready.” We told him that was fine but we weren’t coming back again until 5 days had passed – would he be OK with that? And he nodded up and down in agreement.
We brought him back with us and he was a perfect guest for the next week. No tears, no missing home — he was very relaxed. And we had a great week.
Why that extra trip home? We never found out. My instinct is that he had had never been in the new surroundings and he may have thought that was his ‘new home’. Plus, Lamb wasn’t with him. And by taking home that first next day, he was convinced that we weren’t going to keep him forever. And perhaps there was that good feeling that he had some control in when he could go back to his family home. Sometimes, grown-ups have to listen to little people’s thoughts or wishes even if they don’t understand why themselves. To his credit, if he hadn’t insisted on coming back with us again, he would have missed out on a happy, memorable and cuddly visit. And a great memorable gift to his grandparents.