My Seattle daughter is now my Pensacola daughter–or will be Sunday night when she arrives in Florida after spending four days with us, along with her three little ones, ages 7, 5 and 3. She made the trip cross country to see all the “grands” before they get settled into their new home.
It had been just over a year since we’d seen the children, and of course they’d gotten bigger and more adorable. (They ARE grandchildren, after all!) Before she arrived, she’d changed her plans several times, which complicated my schedule, as I’d taken certain days off so I could spend time with the family– so there was some adjusting to do, as I couldn’t skip court appearances. She’d also wanted to go to Niagara Falls, so we had that ready to go; but on arrival, she’d decided not to do that. But I pride myself on being flexible, so we made it work.
On the up side, her best friend from high school, who still lives in town, delivered her third child the day after M arrived. So she got to be here for that. We also had two successful large group dinner/dessert outings, one with just my in-town daughter, who has five children, so with M’s three and my three…it was something. Friday night we had all those, plus M’s friend with her new baby, husband, and two kids, as well as several other friends, aunts and cousins. Hurrah for paper plates and cups!
M’s poor little ones were showing the toll of 10 days driving across country, away from home, exposed to multiple kids with bugs. This morning, two of them were throwing up as she drove away, but she packed the car and bravely soldiered on. She reminded me of me, at my best, some 20 years ago. So that was reaffirming.
On the other hand, having an in-house comparison to our three, a reminder of what “normal” or “typical” really means… the contrast really hit home. Even Ditto Boy came up with odd outbursts from time to time, sounding very much like his older brother–”You know lightning hits boys twice as much as girls!” or “I’m really more girl inside than I am boy!”–totally unprompted and ready to swear as fact. Captain Oblivious was in his Aspielicious element, with even more people to talk at about things they didn’t care about. Little Miss, still not herself, more I think to do with her impending menarche (!!!) than the passing illness, was a little overwhelmed with all the people in her space. To her credit, she didn’t act out, but tended to herself and found quiet corners alone quite often. But on just about every level, M’s children were more social, better spoken, more perceptive, better ‘readers’ of others… at half their age.
The end of the year grades/IEP reports also came this week, with gentle scolding about the behaviors that still aren’t acceptable in school, but apparently can’t be stopped. Both of these, I guess, are just little reminders, I guess, of the fact that no matter how far we’ve come, we have a hell of a long way yet to go.