I love being around my grandchildren. Who else would spend time with me throwing a frisbee or football on the beach, playing paddleball or cornhole or wiffleball if not my grandson Malik? Who else would wrap her arms around me from behind to greet me as I play my morning solitaire and then proceed to beat me soundly in Rummy 500 or King’s Corner if not my granddaughter Zadie? Where else can I feel the active buzz of kids in the house or on the deck or walking to the back lake?
But then they fly again out of the nest and there’s a moment of quiet and silence and yes, I miss them, but part of my body and mind relaxes and thinks, “Yeah!” No more having to intervene in their sibling squabbles or entice them to get out of the house to join me at the beach or to feel the overflow of 12-year-old-hormones telling me to “Shh!” if she thinks I’m talking too loud in public and embarrassing her. No more reminding them to clean up or cleaning up after them, and so now, the very space has a quality of order and silence that this old man with thinning nerves can savor and enjoy.
And so the Michigan vacation winds to its end, two more days with just my wife Karen and brother-in-law John and then the drive down to Ann Arbor with the carrot of going to the movie that I keep not getting to see —Barbie! Once because my movie friends chose another one and once because Karen, John and I drove 45 minutes only to find it was sold out! It better be good!
And so I’ve managed to write these four paragraphs without the grandkids telling me to “get off the computer!!!” Which is correct, it should be limited in times like this and mostly has been. Even now, the beach is reprimanding me, but in a gentler manner. And so out into the air I go again, back to the sea, sand, sky and silence.