Our morning outing at Green Lake in Seattle, the weather is once again warm and sunny, Seattle hasn’t had any rain in more than a month! I’ve ridden a bicycle around the park with the fam before, but never in the summer.
This is a cool historical fact about Green Lake’s formation: Geologists say the Vashon Glacial Ice Sheet, which also formed Puget Sound and other area lakes, formed Green Lake 50,000 years ago. Dredgings of Green Lake have produced volcanic ash from an eruption of Glacier Peak that occurred about 6,700 years ago.
I bring out the creams, powder, and a special bottle of Chanel perfume.
Charlotte climbs on the bed and we commence our spa day. Self-care can’t begin too early!
“Let’s start with the powder” I say,
“Just a tiny pinch, right Grandma?”
“That’s right, Char.”
“Come closer.” She takes the powder and pats it on my neck with tiny hands as soft as velvety down.
“Do you too, Char!”
“Just a pinch more for Charlotte”, as she mirrors the same exact patting motion on her own neck.
“Now cream for cheeks, right?”
“Here you go, but not too much.”
“Not TOO much, Grandma.”
She rubs it all over my cheeks and forehead.
Time grinds to a complete stop as there is nothing in the world more precious than being pampered by a little girl not yet two, who takes my face in both of her baby hands and ever-so-delicately and deliberately slathers my face in enough cream for a week’s worth of moisturizing.
“There you go, Grammy.”
“Me turn.” And Char again replicates the second part of this very important grooming process.
“NOW time for CHANEL!”
Excitedly, she opens the bottle, smells the heavenly fragrance, and dips in the stick.
“Pull up sleeves, Grandma.”
I pull up my sleeves and she swipes a few drops on my wrist, motioning me to rub my wrists together to evenly disperse the perfume, as I taught her.
After she does the same for herself and her stuffed flamingo, we’re ready to start our day.
“Come on Grammy, let’s go to the park!”
You got it, Char. Wherever you want to go, my girl.
Not at the godawful hour of 5:30 a.m. (their witching hour) but at a more respectable 6:30. The only sounds on this Sunday morning are the hawks and birds and the incessant warning squeak of a ground squirrel.
As I restore the house to a once again adult dwelling, moving the breakables back into their original position, I turn to the garden where I’m greeted with a massive knot installation by Captain Theo.
He had been deeply involved in a fantasy world of boats where he was the captain and we had to salute and respond to him with “Aye aye, Captain.” I asked him what my job was on the ship and he said I was his Mate, and so I was referred to as “Matey.”
Don’t even ask me where his creative little mind dredged up that scenario, but it was SUPER cute, as Char would say.
He wore a hat and gathered up all the rope he could find, along with some buckets and an old oar that was lying around, and proceeded to create a fairly sophisticated jumble of knots, all the more impressive because no one had ever taught him about the art of knot tying.
He designated himself as Captain of his world–that level of self confidence in a child is positive and healthy especially since he really really loves to give orders, which is why he’s been called Bossy Boots since he was two.
When it was time to untie the knotted structure because he wanted to build something else, he was frustrated and asked for help.
Always looking for the lesson in things–a teachable moment–as I sort of guided his unraveling, we chatted about what it feels like to be frustrated and how sometimes, a task like UNtying knots opens up an opportunity to learn to really pay attention (mindfulness) and practice patience.
Thereafter, his new phrase to Char was, “Just be a little patient and it will all work out.”
Hand to heart, that child is beyond precious. What a gift he is.
Now if someone could just get over here and help me untie the knots he left behind I’d really appreciate it!
My life’s odyssey doesn’t seem to be a straight line to bliss, that’s for sure.
The oven situation was NOT the easy fix I’d hoped for. It’s going to take a whole new electronic panel which’ll take several days to get here.
On the glass half full side, the technician helped me purchase the part online, saving about $100, so I appreciated his honesty. He didn’t charge for today’s visit and diagnosis, and the cost for his labor is reasonable.
As I bemoaned the horrible timing, he suggested I purchase a toaster oven. I had meant to do that a long time ago and forgot, so this was a great solution to my dilemma. I ran out and got one that day AND it was on sale, a fact that makes this Grandma very happy.
If every cloud really has a silver lining, mine is now pure gold with diamond sparkles. Charlotte’s new behavior is to run at me from across the room, jump in my arms, wrap herself around me and say, “Charlotte hug and kiss Grandma!” Over and over again. That two-year-old with the titian hair and her curly big brother expressing their affectionate and exuberant joie de vivre wipe away any and all angst about the oven.
Just now from Theo at 5:26 a.m., “Wake up, Princess Rosebud!” Right behind him from Char at 5:27 a.m.,”Grandma, where’s apple pie?”
It might be a day late, but they WILL have their apple pie!
THUMP like a dinosaur as he jumps from the top step.
Crawling in bed with me at 5:30 a.m. to chat about dreams and breakfast and plans for the day,
“Grandma, did you make more cookies?” “Grandma, did the coyotes come last night? Can we check the camera?” “Grandma, can we do the slip and slide now?” “Grandma, are there a lot of kids at the park now?” “Grandma, Char is still sleeping, so is mommy and daddy.” “Grandma, when Daddy was a little boy and went to Kelly, did he play outside too?” “Did he have a slip and slide like mine?” “I’m going to kindergarten in September but not at Kelly.” “Grandma, can I have this rock? Can I bring the giant transformer home? Can I bring the red ball home?” “Grandma, we are staying here for a really long time, right Grandma?” “How many more days?” “Can we go to the lagoon today? It’s not as salty as the beach.” “I counted all the steps up to my bedroom. I can jump from almost all the way up. Want to watch me, Grandma?” “Where’s Dad going? WHERE ARE YOU GOING, DADDY?” (Early morning surf sesh, that’s where.)
“Get up, Grandma!“
And so it goes…
Sliced fruit, oatmeal, buckwheat pancakes, breakfast burritos, bagels, and toast–all before 7:00 a.m.
Second feeding after park or beach at about 10 a.m. Lunch at 11:45 a.m. Char down for a nap at noonish. More play, crafts while I get ready for after nap snacks to include my famous smoothies, cut up veggies and hummus, and probably a tofu hot dog or leftover dinner from the night before.
The beach, south of the jetty. There’s a dolphin out there but it’s impossible to see.
Slip and slide, two kiddie pools, running around. And around. And around. AND AROUND.
Indoors for a little inside play while I start dinner; maybe another trip to the park or a walk around the neighborhood. Here they are fascinated by the kindergarten kids.
Early first dinner at 4:30, more play, bath at 6ish, nighttime snack of sliced apples and almond butter, books and bed at 7pm.
For me? Exhaustion and joy equally by 7:30.
And then there’s almost two-year-old Charlotte…
“Grammy, come HERE! Help Charlotte take off shirt.” “Cookie for Charlotte!” NO! Not that one, other one!” “NO, I can do it!” “NO. STOP IT!” “Cuppa tea for Charlotte!” “Super cute baby at the park.” “Stop it, Theo! Don’t say that!” “Grandma, find mermaid!” “Grandma, water, please.” “Not that hat! Where’s Peppa hat?” “Go to park now.” “I see bunny. Theo, come see!” “Charlotte touch lizard?” “Bagel with cream cheese and jelly.” “Where’s Daddy and Mommy?” (Surfing, of course.)
Like I said, joy and exhaustion, but JOY wins every time. This is their first visit since Covid, the first time they left their house to fly anywhere in more than a year.
We had excellent weather except for one odd drizzly day. We spent hours and hours outside exploring the garden and backyard; watching the bunnies and lizards (Char had never seen one) and monarch butterflies and all the hummingbirds and other birds that live in the trees. One morning we checked the wildlife camera and saw a bobcat. That’s only happened one other time! Sharing my love for animals is high on the list of what I want my grandma legacy to be.
At the airport, “I miss you already, Grandma. Can we come back in two days, Mommy?” “Miss you, Grandma”, from Char.
Hugs and kisses all around.
Now it’s SO quiet. No children laughing, screaming, no one yelling at the top of his lungs from the highest point in the garden, “GRANDMA, CAN YOU SEE ME?”
Yup. I miss them already for sure, but they’ll be back in a few weeks so I need to REST up.