We are back from our travels and celebrations.
We love to celebrate everything, anything for us can become a springboard for celebration.The past weekend we celebrated with family and friends my daughter in laws thirtieth birthday
We traveled early as Friday dawned, leaving Cornwall for London, it was misty over Bodmin moor and we saw little but the tarmac of the road for the best part of the hour as we traveled up country and out of Cornwall, by the time we reached the M 5, motorway traffic had joined us for the commuter rush. The tarmac arteries of England fill with people on a timetable, hurtling themselves at speed in metal boxes to destinations that are away from their homes, while others do the same in the opposite direction.
We arrive as the youngest grandchild comes out of school midday, she bursts through the door like a jumping beam of yellow sunshine joy. You could never feel down around this little ball of glowing energy, she reminds me of a little fairy with golden fairy dust shedding from her wings as she flits from one to another in her exuberant cuddles of love.
The eldest boy has a half day off as the school prepares for an open evening, he is growing, his teen years see his shoulders broadening and his limbs stretching, giving that lanky limb look, he has a fresh haircut, it makes him look older, we only saw him a few weeks back but he is maturing rapidly.
Later on the Monday as he says goodbye at the school gate he will stand awkwardly and give a glace up and down the street to see if there is anyone who knows him as he half turns and slides his body in for a farewell hug. I smile happy to have a half turned hug. and he waves goodbye with his street cred still intact.
My busy granddaughter arrives home looking pretty as a picture, she is stunning, even with fashionably ripped tights and her mouth brace she is stunning, rising thirteen she looks much older, not in that before her time way though, but in a good way, she has composure, and she can laugh and she is compassionate. Before we return home she takes herself to the shops and of her own accord puts together a little goodie bag full of sweets toffees, fudge and biscuits for our journey home.
The table gets set for the evening meal.
On the Saturday we take Molly our ancient Labrador to the orchard while we wait for our daughter, she will take Molly back to rest at the house while we then go on to the party.
The party is busy, it is full, the garden and the house spills out with friends and family children, babies and a puppy. Happy Birthday is sung, presents opened, food is shared. All our children except the youngest back down in Cornwall have gathered at one time or another at the party as it goes on through the day into the evening, we are blessed.
The party goes on, late afternoon we take an hour away to see some old friends who live nearby. They greet us with sad news, a sister has had a stroke, her life will be changed, it was severe, emergency surgery saved her life. A young Nan, the one who picks up from school, the one who is always there to help, now others will support her as she learns a new way of being.
We share tea and biscuits with our fiends and we get to see their grandsons who are having a sleepover, a new grandson who is asleep in the travel cot in the upstairs bedroom and the older toddler who is smiley and cheeky and a real tonic in these days that are following their bone numbing news.
On the Sunday morning we catch up with other friends, we have an exchanging of home made wines, ours are amateurish and rustic, theirs are much more refined and properly labelled, we are very different and yet there is something that we recognize in them something foundational that connects.
We speak about our families, our sons and daughters, our hopes and dreams for the coming times. They are easy people to speak with, there is no pretense or show.
In busy lives it is easy to find friendships have slipped away. Sometimes people come into your life and you feel that you have known them for many lifetimes. In term of years we have not been friends long, not even a decade, but we find ourselves privileged to call these people friends and we are grateful.
On the Sunday we find Molly is resting well at our daughters and so we head off after to meet with the our eldest son his wife our birthday daughter, the youngest boy grandchildren, my second from youngest son and his girlfriend. We eat a Sunday dinner outside in the garden on wooden benches and afterwards play football at the park behind their house, the puppy meets lots of other dogs and everyone stops to say how cute the puppy is.
All too soon it is time to say our farewells, we leave holding a gift from our grandsons, a key rack they have made themselves one they made for home but one we get to take home.
One grandson is shy and he keeps to himself, his body language says please don’t hug me so we tap him on the head and say “okay bye bye troubles” he catches our eyes but then he is gone, the other grandson sees my tears and wraps his too long a legs around my waist as I sit down to brush my tears aside, one leg either side he holds on, his long legs and bony knees are sticking into my sides and under my arms and he says don’t cry, I hug him tight relishing his big boy hug.
We are back enjoying the quiet of the evening at my daughters, all the children are home, We have been up to the Abbey that sits on Holly Well Hill to pick up my granddaughter from youth group, we listened as the bell rung out the hour and watched as families all dressed in their Sunday best hurried across the cobbled pathway leading up to the Abbey to catch one of the many services that begin on the hour.
Now we are in bed, the eldest boys bed, he has given up his bed up both times we have stayed, the bottom bed pulls out and makes it into a double, he is a good boy and even though we say we are fine to sleep on the sofa, he wont have it.
Thor their tiny cat joins us for her third night and gentle pumles away at us softly purring, till she gets her spot just right and then sleeping her soft breath turns to gentle snoring as she lays on top of the duvet between our warm bodies.
In the morning after the everyone has departed for school or work just my daughter and today a poorly Jessica sit at the table with Granddad and I and we have buttery toast and a cup of tea before the journey back down to Cornwall.
I thought it would be easier this time, the parting, and yet it is terrible, a pain tears through me as I ready myself to leave.
It wont always be like this, soon the new home will keep memories in its granite walls and the house will become home and the children will still be around me even when they are an ocean away, but for now it is too new, too raw, the miles of separation and the pain is deep. But love does this and it is not a bad thing, it means we feel and we are connected.