This is at the end of the visit - I hadn't washed my hair in days - oooooh I was tired!
It was hard to take Katie and the girls to the airport. In my head I'd had so many things planned for us to do. Movies, late night chats, Aquarium of the Pacific, more late night chats with vanilla and chocolate JoJos. S'mores at the beach. In reality, it's harder getting out the door with two small girls, (one of whom still needs 2 naps a day) than I remember. Wedding festivities took up a lot of time (and after all, that was the main reason for the gathering), and the rest of the week I felt like I was just recovering from it all. I have a hard time doing the late nights these days - even though I'd love to. I really need my 7-8 hours of sleep or I'm an achey mess. (I love getting older...) I wanted to be at my best for the little girls, so I went home to a sane bedtime every night. But when it came time to see Katie off, it all of a sudden hit me: I'd had virtually no fun time with just her, and here she was flying off again. It made me cry. I wouldn't have imagined it when I was younger, and the kids were still home, but when they're off on their own, you have a real ACHE to connect with them in a fun way again. It's hard for me to think I've become old and boring because I need to get my sleep. I was supposed to be cool and fun, but instead I'm the mom/grandma who makes everyone clean up and watch their manners. When did this happen??!?
At least the little ones still like me. It was a treat to have Mia beg to come to my house to play. And we had some good tea parties and picnics.
When it was time to leave for the airport, she hugged L and asked "Can you come with me?" Oh my - that just about melted his crusty old heart. She hugged him when he came home from work, and she followed him around when he worked in the garage. She served him tasty pasta and "tomato cherries" with her play food. We colored, and she wrote her name on a picture just for Papa. (She wouldn't do it on mine!)
One afternoon/evening we joined forces with Ronna, Lexi, and Matthew for a trip to Disneyland. That was a hard 8 hours. We maybe won't do that again as a group until everyone is MUCH older. The girls squabbled, it was hot, and my feet started aching. Now, the girls are only 4 years old, and how they were reminded me of being a kid myself, with the "He's touching me - tell him to stop TOUCHING me!!" nonsense little kids do. Lexi would instigate, and Mia would scream and cry. It's what four year olds do. It just made a tough day in the Park for two young moms and Mema. Matthew wandered away once and terrified all of us, but luckily we found him after a couple of minutes. Hayden just smiled and flirted with anyone who would look at her. Cheeky girl. But soooo adorable. She will have her day, I'm sure. Although she is so easy going, I'm sure she'll instigate, and Mia will go crazy. Miss Mia is our dramatic one. When she is a bit older and more in control, she will be very entertaining. Lexi is our conversationalist. She will talk your ear off, and knows how to totally charm you. Matthew is all boy. Full tilt out of control in everything he does. But oh, those blue eyes. And Hayden - she is the peacemaker, the sweet honey of the bunch.
We did have fun with everyone. I don't know if I just needed more time, or if, while the kids are small, there will never be enough time to enjoy the adult children. Maybe I just need to be patient, and enjoy what IS, rather than wishing for more. That seems to be a common theme in my life, so perhaps I need to do some adjusting. I need to pare down and simplify these visits. Probably because most everyone is out of state, I tend to make all sorts of grand plans, and then I'm disappointed when it all doesn't work out. And I'm sad when everyone leaves, because I imagine they're as disappointed as I am. In reality, they probably don't think about it at all - they had no idea what I was imagining. And if I'm smart, I'll just keep those details to myself.
Besides, now that I have some time to think, I think the best thing about the visit was watching L's confidence with the little girls start to blossom. Sweet.