Before the end of last year, my daughter asked if I would come out to Seattle in January to help her while her husband was out of the country for a weeklong business conference. Of course I said yes.
On the day of my arrival, because it was a school holiday, she and her two boys were able to pick me up at the airport. When they saw me coming around the corner, my four-year old grandson ran and jumped in my arms. What better way to be greeted from a cross-country flight!
After running by home to drop off my things, we headed off to a park where I got to race my grandson on foot while he zoomed around on his balance bike.
When we got home, we took the initial steps towards developing a fun evening routine.
We would start with our “happy hour” enjoying one of the great local craft beers while my youngest grandson took his nap and my oldest grandson had his “watching time.”
Then we would fix dinner, eat, and then bath the boys together.
We made a good team with each of us getting one of the boys settled down for bed. Since I was going to be in town for less than a week, I was trying to remain on a Central Time Zone schedule so after reading for just a few minutes, it was off to bed for me at around 9 pm (PST). But this allowed me to be up really early to help with the early morning wake-up of the littlest fella.
Each day, my oldest grandson would head off to preschool while I stayed home to watch the little guy. We would play together while my daughter ran errands or attended appointments that were impossible to keep with both boys in tow.
One day I boldly allowed him to play with his big brother’s garage. He loved it. When big brother came home, he just asked what his garage was doing on the rug (normally it is kept well out of his little grasp). When I explained his little brother was just enjoying playing with it, he seemed okay. Maybe rather than getting upset, he must have been thinking one day the two of them could have fun playing together.
Once big brother was home from pre-school, it was one-on-one granddaddy time with him. Considering he is a fellow car lover, we had lots of things we could play together.
Beyond just the fact that my daughter’s family lives in Seattle, another delightful draw for me to visit is the vast selection of local craft beers. And with my daughter’s help, we picked out a very nice selection of IPAs to enjoy over the week.
We also went out to dinner one night at a local brewpub and had a very delightful time. My oldest grandson was on his best behavior and my youngest grandson, just a one year old, was busy checking out all the waitresses, jerking his head this way and that each time one went by. Boy if his Daddy could have seen that.
Sadly it seemed the week went by way too fast. On my last full day in town, we went to one of our favorite places to go, the Museum of Flight. I have written before, what fun we have had going there so I was really looking forward to this adventure. Last January when I was out in Seattle not long after the littlest fella was born, my grandson and I managed to get to the museum three separate times. We developed a fun routine that at the end, my grandson would get to pick out one small toy to take home as a souvenir of our visit.
I know my grandson remembered this tradition because just the week before when he was at the museum, he told his mom that he would like to go in the gift shop not to buy anything, but just to look for when Granddaddy came to town.
We had a great time at the museum and after lunch, my grandson decided he was ready for a visit to the gift shop. I’m not sure if his pre-looking the week before made his choice more difficult, but after looking at a number of different possibilities (with just a little clarification that a $65 1/8-scale rescue helicopter was not a “little toy”), he selected a plastic WWI fighter plane.
Of course it required assembly with a miniature version of Ikea-like instructions.
It would have simplified the assembly process significantly if I had simply looked through the instructions fully before beginning because as it was, I had to take the fuselage apart (shown in step 1) three times to add pieces that I overlooked. But my grandson was most patient throughout and seemed most satisfied in the end.
When I was finally finished and handed him the model, I had a huge aha moment when I realized without thinking about it in advance, that I had just put together my very first model with my very first grandson. Growing up, I used to love to assemble plastic models and the thought that I could get to enjoy that fun activity again with my grandchildren was just an exhilarating epiphany. It was a great way to cap off the week!
It is always hard to leave at the end of my visit but as I reflected on our week while taking my early morning ride to the airport, I thought we had had a very nice week. I know it was a big help for my daughter and it was a special visit for me with my two grandsons and my daughter. She and I had several one-on-one times together as well that made the visit even more special. And it is comforting to know that there will be future adventures together as well.