Grandma had been gone the day before, off on her Metrolink excursion, and so they were especially eager and sweet. Everyone, it seemed, wanted to sit next to her.
One might have thought I had been gone for years.
It was a good day for lots of visiting. There was Church, during which each of them sang songs, and heard Bible stories, and made a Craft. They excitedly showed me their Crafts after squealing when I came round the corner, "Grandma! You CAME!"
It had been arranged that Grandma and Grandpa, after Church, would escort the children off to the local iHop. They had already had a breakfast so I suppose this would be called 'second breakfast', or perhaps even 'elevensies'. The children simply love iHop. The eldest once called it 'MyHop', I think because of the appreciation he has for their kids menu. There is just so much to choose from, and they don't fuss at children about squirming, and they give each child a floating balloon as they leave. What's not to like? We perused our menus, taking our time to decide just which morsel would suit us best. Then the nice lady came and took our order which was altered a few times during the telling, but eventually everybody had it figured out. Then while we waited for our food and drank our drinks, we looked at Grandma's phone pictures and laughed at them. There were lots of silly photos of blond people making silly faces into the camera, and these were apparently hilariously funny. More hilariously funny photographs were taken and laughed at, until the nice lady came back and gave us all our food.
Silence reigned for a time, and all was right with the world. Lovely behavior fairly poured out of them, and in the end (you will find this surprising), NOBODY SPILLED. The iHop staff smiled at them and handed each a floating balloon on their way out. You've gotta hand it to iHop. They've got this thing down.
We all piled back into the van, clutching tightly to our floating balloons, and Grandpa took us all home. As we were getting out of the car, the 5 year old took my hand and whispered in my ear, "Grandma? Are you a Christian?"
I smiled, and bent down to place my hand on her shoulder. "Yes, my darling girl - I am."
She suddenly hugged me and did not stop hugging me for a space of time. And then, "I knew it! I am SOOOOO glad!"
Hand in hand we walked into the house, chummily talking about her little thoughts and concerns as if we were the best of friends. However many years there might be between us, they are not the kind of years that separate. In fact, we hardly notice things like years, at all.
And I am SOOOOO glad.
See you along the way!
photo credit: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/39160147@N03/14334011932">IHOP Restaurant</a> via <a href="http://photopin.com">photopin</a> <a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/">(license)</a>