Each year I drive the long miles to pick up my grandson, Mr. J. He has come to my home each summer since he was four years old. He actually lived with me for nine months starting at age two. Circumstances with the divorce of his parents, and his mother moving to Texas, he needed a place to stay for awhile until she became settled. Granny’s house was a good place to go. Then his father came to Texas and stayed with us for nine months. So, for over a year he lived at our house.
When things settled and his parents found their rhythm in life, he came for visits. The length of time started as a whole month. But as children grow, they have other activities. This year Mr. J will visit for three weeks.
The drive to bring him to Texas and return him home is the worst part of our summertime visit. Two days on the road makes a long trip. On the trip to Texas we talk about the year and catch up. We also make plans for what we will do this visit.
This year, we are fishing and riding horses. His horse is not caring for a baby this year, and we will be able to go on rides. He has been riding her since he was two, they are both getting older. There will come a time when he will not be able to ride his beloved Vicky horse.
Fishing is another activity he started learning at the age of two. We would take him to the local lakes, hook the perch and let him reel in the fish. He has learned how to bait his own hook, take off his own fish, and how to put rigging on his pole. The first day of fishing this year, his first fish was a channel catfish, 20 1/2 inches long, weight 3.5 pounds. His largest fish he has brought to show was three years ago, a channel catfish 28 inches long.
But staying with Granny is not all play, there are the daily chores of taking care of the sheep and horses. We are also refinishing a dresser for his aunt who is having triplets. He has learned how to paint different items in the past visits, but this year he is learning how to hand sand and refinishing an old dresser, and make some minor improvements and repairs.
Two years ago when Covid-19 broke out and everyone was on lockdown, he could not come for summer visit. His mother said he was miserable. She said that would not happen again. His summertime visits are a recharge for him. A time to learn new things and just be a kid.
Mr. J and I have a special relationship, grandmother and grandson, but also best friends. He is able to talk to me about anything and everything, without feeling judgement or getting in trouble. We have worked through some of his hard problems, learned how to deal with emotions,the problems that arise from having divorced parents and step parents.
During our fishing trip, we discussed that these summertime visits will eventually come to an end. He is getting older. One year he will have a job, or be at college, and unable to take three or four weeks visits with Granny. He is getting older, growing up and will eventually have commitments and responsibilities, that he does not have today. Today, we will enjoy the talks on the lake banks waiting for the big catfish to bite, or feeling the rhythmic hoofbeats under us as we ride.
He also realizes that the day will come when his beloved Vicky horse will no longer be able to carry him on a ride, she is sixteen this year. His hope is to ride her filly born last year, when the filly will be old enough to ride. And perhaps, he will be able to train her, be the first on her back for the first ride.
It has been a cherished joy to teach my grandson the many lessons, first to be talk using words, to learning to ride alone, to catching and reeling in a 28 inch catfish. Memories we both will cherish for a lifetime and beyond.
So, if I miss a day or two from writing the next few weeks, I am out fishing or riding or working on a dresser, building more memories to recall in the future and a relationship for a lifetime.