Early in July, we had the joy of welcoming home our daughter and her family. It was the first time they had been home since our youngest son’s wedding in November 2019, a visit long overdue because of the pandemic. And my wife’s sister just so happened to be coming to town as well. With our daughter also getting to see her best friend from high school, it turned out to be a glorious visit.
Whenever we travel out west to visit our kids and their families, my wife always likes to take a small gift for our grandchildren. Of late, that has been Legos which always gives me a fun activity helping them to build the kit. So, it was an unexpected treat when our daughter arrived with that familiar yellow Lego bag, a reward for her youngest son for being such a great passenger on his flights. It right off the bat gave us something fun to do together.
With the weather being as hot as blazes during their visit, time in the swimming pool factored large in everyone’s activities. Typically, not long after breakfast, the two boys were ready to jump in the pool for their morning swim time.
Then after we brought our granddaughter home from her summer camp each weekday, there would be afternoon swim time until dinner.
On days when her mommy worked, our granddaughter would also dine with her cousins giving them plenty of time to be together. It was here that our daughter introduced us to the dinner time game of thorns and roses where each person says something that was good about their day (rose) and something that was not so good (thorn). It was always fun hearing what each of the grandchildren found special about their day.
On one of these dinner occasions, our granddaughter sweetly made dinner place cards for everyone.
During one of our afternoon swims, I got out my little remote-control boat that I had purchased just for such an occasion. I delighted in seeing them race it around the pool. It proved quite popular but unfortunately since a second boat was not available for purchase due to the pandemic, disputes over whose turn it was forced it into early drydocking for battery recharging.
On the weekends, we got a chance for all four grandkids to be together.
It had also been since November 2019 that we had had this many grandkids together. It was interesting to see how our granddaughter paired up with her younger cousin to create some art together…
…while our oldest grandson enjoyed rolling cars down the slide with our youngest grandson on the new play gym I had built.
I knew this would be a popular play feature for all of our grandchildren when I was building it back in April.
After dinner, there was a frolicking musical time with lots of dancing to loud trumpet sounds.
During the weekdays while our granddaughter was at summer camp, my daughter and her family had time for some additional activities. For indoor activities when it was too hot to be outside, we got out some building toys that had not seen the light of day since our two boys were young.
And as usual, we got a chance to go the Children’s Museum…
…and on another day before it got too hot in the morning, they visited our Memphis Zoo.
On their last day in town, with an unexpected morning rainstorm, we broke out a new toy my wife had purchased.
Actually, being a toy intended for nine and older kids, my son-in-law and I did most of the assembly drawing the boys in on steps they could help with. Once completed, it was a entertaining roller-coaster with a battery-operated chain to pull the small car up to the peak of the railing before zipping through all the curves and loops.
Once the rain ended and with a welcome break in the heat, we took the boys to a local park where there was lots of festive play.
That afternoon, after one more cousin swim, it was one final fun cousin dinner together.
It was early the next morning that I was dropping off my daughter and her family at the airport for their flight back home.
Their smiles and hand gestures were for me confirmation of what a nice time they had had while home. In fact, returning to that thorns and roses game, their visit for me was a bouquet of roses getting to see all of the grandkids have such a good time playing together.
While it was sad to see them walking away, it gave me a chance to start reflecting on the highlights from their trip with the hopes that it would not be as long for their next homecoming.