My grandson, J. , has been with me for three weeks. We look forward to the summer weeks we spend together. The time is precious to me when he visits, so I focus on him and making precious memories. This year there were some milestones reached, and my “little boy” is growing up. A sobering undertone realized by both of us on this summer visit.
When he was barely two, he came to live with me for 18 months, part of the time his father lived with us. The start of summer time visits began. Each summer he has come to visit for three weeks to a month. Our visit begins with a long drive, I live in Texas, he lives in Colorado, 15 hours one way. Traveling is not a bad way to start the summer visit, we talk during the drive, catching up on the happenings of the year and making plans for what we are going to do during the short time he is with me. During these visits there are two things we always make sure we do, ride his horse and fish.
The horse he rides is the horse I gave him when he was two years old. My mare I competed in Reined Cow Horse events. She is an awesome children’s mount. This year she turned 16 years old. I purchased him a saddle he has ridden in all these years. When he mounted this year, the stirrups had to be lengthened once more, to the last hole, the longest they will go down. Lengthening the stirrups to the last hole was a visual sign he was growing up, his last summer in the children’s saddle. Next year he will have to ride in my saddle, an adult saddle.
Fishing, my little man loves to fish. His journey began when he was two and would reel in the perch I or Grandpaw hooked. He graduated to an adult pole when he was seven. That year he caught his first big catfish, a 28 inch channel catfish. When he finally got it to the bank, his arms hurt. The fish was longer than half his height. This summer he caught two nice catfish, a channel catfish that was 20 1/2 inches long, and a blue catfish measuring 20 inches long. We use a tape measure to measure the fish, not going to have any “fishing tales”. He has out fished me the past five or six years.
This year, I and Grandpaw have decided to move closer to my daughter, his aunt. That means it will be a two hour drive to our lake, instead of five minutes. He has learned to fish at this lake, and it is where he has caught his largest fish to date. He mentioned we would need to travel back to our lake, at least once every summer. The lake is open to everyone, but there are very few people, if any when we go fishing. We are alone, the two of us, with the lake and wildlife, as if it is our own personal lake.
The lake is a nice place to enjoy our surrounding and to talk. This year we talked about him turning thirteen. He is getting older and will soon want to do something different than visit Granny. He will have a job, a girlfriend, and other things. I let him know when the time comes he does not have time to visit in the summer, it is ok. As a young boy becomes a young man, things change, change is not bad. Living is about change, we learn to do new things and remember the past things we did.
Every summer there is work to do as well as play. He helps with the chores. This year he did the chores on his own. Caring for the animals brings him joy. We also sanded a dresser for my daughter who is having triplets. In the past he has helped me build sheds, paint fence, build dog houses, plant fruit trees and bushes, and care for the garden. This year we worked on refinishing an old dresser.
We also did something he has an interest in, baking and decorating cakes. We watched shows on decorating cakes. He baked a cake for his cousin’s birthday and learned to decorate the cake. His cousin loves strawberries. The cake was a simple white cake made from scratch, not a box. The frosting was cream cheese frosting. The layers were seperated with a strawberry reduction. The pokemon, decoration is fondant. We had fun working on the cake together, sharing ideas and learning.
I have had to learn to share my grandson. This year my daughter, her husband and daughter took him to the ocean for a weekend. He loves the water and enjoyed the visit to the ocean. They also played miniature golf and games at an arcade, while my daughter sat in a room.
Then it was time for the trip home, another 15 hours in the truck traveling home. We make a stop at my other daughter’s family’s home to sleep before going on to his home. This year, his baby sister was born when we arrived at my daughter’s home. So for the last leg of the trip home, his aunt and his other grandpa (my ex-husband) were with us. We dropped him off with his mom. He later met his dad and us, at the hospital to see his baby sister.
We have traveled through good times and bad times, challenges and disappointments in life. The one person he can talk to without any reserves or fears, is Granny. These visits help him to recenter and refresh to handle the challenges that arrive in the year. This year, I realized he has learned the tools to handle any challenge that may come his way.
My “little boy” is growing up, and soon he will be a man. The time of calling my grandson, “my little boy” is coming to a close. He will always remain my close buddy and fishing partner. We have many memories to share.