The best parts of any trip are two-fold: arriving at your destination and arriving back home again.
But it’s the time in between, spent doing something enjoyable, that is remembered. Our recent visit to Colorado Springs for the holidays proved once again how true this is.
We have nine grandchildren and a newly born great-granddaughter there. Of course, for me, rocking the baby, even though she is asleep, is mandatory. The older kids, from 6 to 22, are more active, and it’s hard to catch them for a cuddle.
Our grandson, Grayson, the 6-year-old, has blond hair, sparkling blue eyes and has learned a lot from his older siblings — good and not-so-good. He is quick with an answer to everything and comes up with ideas that bewilder me.
When it comes to patience, grandmothers seem to have more tolerance for antics of youth. Grandfathers, on the other hand, want more obedience when the antics get silly. Even though he is a loving grandfather and likes one-on-one time with the grandkids, my husband, Toby, fits this bill perfectly.
One day, our daughter Carrie Lee was chatting with Grayson as he ate his lunch at the snack bar. She said, “Now you’re done your lunch, go have some fun.”
His blue eyes looked her straight in the eye and said, “Mom, if Papa would go home, we could have some fun!”
Trying to keep from laughing, she said, “Now, Grayson, that’s not nice. Papa loves you. If Papa goes home, Grammie has to go home, too.”
He thought again and said, “Well, Grammie can take Papa home, and then she can come back.”
We all had a good laugh, even Papa.
With a family of nine kids and three very busy businesses to run, Carrie and Rick don’t get much quiet time for themselves. When we visit, we insist they take a few days away, generally in the nearby Rocky Mountains, for some regeneration time. They made it to Cripple Creek before the snow, which brought a huge snowstorm to Colorado Springs.
Now that they have decent jobs, the oldest boys, Toby, 22, and Jesse, 20, have moved out and rented an apartment together. Maylea, 19, moved out when she married and gave birth to our great-granddaughter, Avery Brady Monnett.
That leaves Grayson, Quinn, Corban, Angel, T.J. and Jacque at home.
Corban, who is 13 and has Asperger’s, a form of autism, is content to play his games and build an amazing array of projects with Legos.
Jacque, who is 21, has high-functioning autism, graduated from high school, and loves to read and watch movies. She and her best friend own every book and movie in the Harry Potter and Star Wars genre.
Snowstorm days are not a problem for Corban and Jacque, as long as they can indulge in their favorite hobbies, which I love to participate in.
Angel, 16, and T.J., 17, have their own agendas from sun up to past sundown, and they either involve their friends, smartphones, makeup or skateboarding.
T.J. has two part-time jobs and loves the financial freedom he has to purchase new skateboarding gear. Angel, who wants a job, is a great help at home with Grayson and Quinn when her mom has errands to run.
That’s four kids occupied during a snowstorm. What to do with the other two: Grayson, 6, and Quinn, 11, who are great buddies because their mom home-schools them.
Well, this grandmother let them take the mattresses off their beds, make a runway in the downstairs hall and have a gymnastics day. They couldn’t believe it when I said it was OK.
They thought they were getting away with something, but the one getting away with something was actually me. I got two hours of peace and quiet because they were downstairs and I was upstairs reading.
No wonder Grayson wanted to send Papa home and keep me, right? I’d say the same thing if I were 6.
One last thought, as always, please be kind to each other. The world needs more kindness.
Susan Tobias lives in Plattsburgh with her husband, Toby. She has been a Press-Republican newsroom employee since 1977. The Tobiases have six children, 18 grandchildren and five great-grandchildren. They enjoy traveling to Maine and Colorado, and in her spare time, Susan loves to research local history and genealogy. Reach her by email at email@example.com.