Just three more days until The Cavalry arrives, aka, Grammy and Papa. I’m sure not everyone feels this way about an impending visit from their parents, but I am filled with nothing but joy and relief whenever they come to stay with us. We have been very lucky; even before they were retired, due to my mom’s schedule as a teacher, we were able to see them nearly 10 months out of the year, and our children have truly formed an unbreakable bond with them.

Beloved Grandma Myrtle

Their willingness to visit us and loving presence in our lives is not something I take for granted. In the past year, an alarming number of my peers have lost their parents. One of the most jarring of these deaths was the loss of my aunt, one of my dad’s younger twin sisters. Several of my classmates from high school have watched their parents suffer prolonged illnesses that eventually took their lives. The fragility of human existence and the stage of life I have reached has been strikingly apparent to me lately. I have come to desire my parents’ presence with a new rawness and intensity, and when we are back together again I feel undeniably more complete. Our children are lucky enough to have one great-grandparent still living; we visit my 90 year old grandmother in Iowa whenever possible.

I feel fortunate in a number of ways for the special relationship I have with my parents; rather than scrambling around frantically to make certain the house is tidy and perfect for their arrival, or worrying about whether my children will behave themselves, I feel a tremendous relaxation that foreshadows their coming. Our lives become easier when they are around; I know in my heart that it makes my mom happy to help me by cooking, picking up, and most importantly, spending time with the girls so that I can take a break. I realize this kind of grandparental help is not a given for every family, and it is perhaps a relatively new generational phenomenon in our particular family, so I feel additionally grateful.

Always willing to hold a sleeping baby

Papa shows Izzy Mount Rushmore

Another fact that thrills me is that my husband also appreciates their presence. Sure, he is more comfortable making sarcastic comments like telling them wryly, “See you in two weeks!” every time they leave, but this is part of their schtick. I know that he genuinely enjoys their company in addition to the fact that having them as houseguests means that we actually get time without the kids. We even go on vacation with them; I honestly believe that most vacations would be enhanced by their companionship, particularly those where we are accompanied by our daughters, which at this moment in time, is all of them.

We genuinely love traveling with them
Izzy and Grammy

I love you Papa!

My mom was present at the birth of both of her granddaughters, and even cut the umbilical cord for one of them. She patiently listens while I vent, gives me encouragement when I need it, and is one of the few people with whom I actually enjoying talking on the phone. My dad’s humor and levelheadedness are a welcome addition to the dynamic of our household. My husband and I make frequent reference to notable”Mike Smith-isms” that have a way of brightening up our days. I hear his words coming out of my mouth so often as I parent; the other night I ordered my oldest child to “quit dinkin’ around!” at bedtime.  Grammy and Papa have watched our daughters grow, cuddled them, rocked them, played with them, and spent every Christmas for the past six years with our family. They are loving, attentive, fun, and generous. We are so very fortunate to have them in our lives. I truly cannot wait to see them again.

Such a lucky little girl
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