It’s been seven years since my husband and I moved to Georgia from Minnesota. The first summer we were here, both of our kids and their spouses came to visit over the 4th of July, and we all had a great time. In fact, our son said, “I know where we’ll be going every year for our summer vacation.”

It didn’t turn out that way, however. By the next summer, our daughter-in-law was pregnant, and long-distance travel would have been uncomfortable at best. By the following summer, they had a newborn, then two more children over the next two years. “As soon as they’re old enough to travel” became our mantra as we looked forward to future visits. We still saw them as often as we could, but we were the ones doing the traveling, not the other way around.

That finally changed over this Memorial Day weekend. With a five-, three-, and two-year-old, and plenty of snacks and activities to last the 1,200-mile drive, our son and daughter-in-law loaded up their truck, and finally came for a visit to Grandma and Grandpa’s house.

It’s been a long time since we had to baby- and toddler-proof a house, so we consulted with the parents on what we needed to hide, cover, or lock up. My main thought was the kids’ safety, but the first thing my son said was, “Put anything fragile or breakable up out of reach.”

In addition to a toy run to Wal-Mart, we borrowed some toys from friends who have—or are anticipating—grandchildren of their own. And we made a grocery run—well, two, actually—for things we haven’t bought in a long, long, time. Chicken nuggets, fruit punch, fish sticks, Kraft Macaroni & Cheese, freezer pops, and, of course, the ingredients for S’mores—which we never got around to making, and ended up sending home with the kids.

Their visit was a long time coming, but definitely worth waiting for. And for as many times as I’ve wished we all lived closer to one another—and to our daughter, too—I also realize that that just makes the times we are able to get together all the more special. While they were here, the little ones enjoyed riding on the boat, playing in the sand, and fishing off the dock. As they get older, the activities will likely change, but I hope they’ll continue to enjoy trips to Grandma and Grandpa’s house, and that they’ll always consider them worth the time and distance they have to travel to get here.

June 5, 2024
©Betty Liedtke, 2024

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