The past four weeks have been hectic. If you didn’t read my last blog, I was in Texas for two weeks and a day before coming home on a Saturday afternoon. Sunday evening, our son and his family arrived from Oregon for a nine-day visit. For someone (namely me) who loves quiet time to relax after a long trip, it was exhausting.
But I wouldn’t change a minute of it.
My favorite young noisemakers hit the house in fine form, echoing their excitement to the rafters. Their favorite expression was “Can we explore?” Trust me, it was a loaded statement. They looked in every nook and cranny of the house, and the youngest one even got into drawers and doors that he shouldn’t have. The upside of it was they found a couple of things we’ve been looking for. The downside, I should have child-proofed my house for a six-year-old who eventually came to the conclusion, “You sure have a lot of fragile stuff around here.” He must have surmised that after being told put-that-back so many times.
Our son wanted to show his sons many of the places where he’d had his own adventures growing up. We traveled to our old hometowns and to places where he worked. He took them bike riding on the Mickelson Trail, through the tunnels and across the high trestles, where he used to ride a lot and where their grandpa is trail patrol during the summers.
He took them rock climbing which he always loved. His youngest loves it too. He’d take off and start scaling the closest outcropping, not taking the easy way but the steepest. Miraculously, he didn’t get hurt.
We went to see Mount Rushmore which the grandsons found boring, but they cooperated enough to get family photos. They were mostly bored because they knew we were having a cookout beside a lake afterward, and they could go fishing. Who needs presidents when there’s fish waiting to be caught? Although they didn’t catch any, they had a good time learning how to cast and eating s’mores. A few days later, we visited a fish hatchery where for a dollar, you could feed lots of fish and watch them swim around. The boys seemed contented with that.
We drove up Spearfish Canyon and had a picnic at Roughlock Falls. We waded in the creek a little, but the water was icy cold, we couldn’t do it for long, except for the fearless youngest grandson. He stayed in and got wetter than any of us. They were not impressed with our waterfalls. Waterfalls in Oregon are way bigger than the ones in South Dakota, but Oregon doesn’t have rocks to climb on. My oldest grandson said all the climbing rocks in Oregon had signs around them saying keep off.
As far as I could tell, the biggest draw to coming to see their grandparents were the climbable rocks and getting Happy Meals from McDonald’s. We kept the boys one day while their parents worked (our son works for a company based in Rapid City), and I promised them if they were good, we’d get Happy Meals for lunch. They were ecstatic because they hadn’t had a Happy Meal since before the pandemic. They kept their promise, and I kept mine. and were on their best behavior. At noon, off we went. When we got home, their healthy-eating parents were there, but they both know that when at grandma’s, grandma gets to feed grandkids whatever she wants. They boys tore into their meals and drank their chocolate milk, but their mother made them eat some broccoli with it, a grandma-approved idea.
The last day they were here, we took the grandsons on a rushed trip to Reptile Gardens where the boys petted giant tortoises, snakes, and alligators, and saw all kinds of venomous snakes in enclosures. They boys were interested in different things, so I told Hubby to go with the oldest and I’d go with the youngest. Mine found the play area with all its climbing structures most fascinating and spent a lot of time there. Later as we toured the exhibits, he kept telling me “I wish someone would go with me over there”, his way of hinting for me to follow him. After a few hours, we returned home to where their parents had everything packed and ready to go.
The house seemed extra quiet and empty after they left. I think Hubby and I were already napping by the time they got to the interstate on the way home. That’s only 5 miles away. We’re not as young as we used to be.
During their visit, we traveled the tourist routes and found buffalo, beautiful lakes, and wide landscapes. The grownups loved it all; the boys loved to explore. My grandsons had many adventures, new experiences, and happy times. I hope we made lots of beautiful memories they will never forget. I know Hubby and I never will.