The family visiting from England has returned home now. They went back hauling more stuff than they came with, at least in part because grandma doesn’t get enough opportunities to spoil the children, so I had to take advantage.
We had a great time together. The debacle on the trip to Beaufort has provided plenty of conversation and is already becoming part of the family lore.
But so many other wonderful things happened during the visit. Many good conversations. Trips to museums, visits with relatives, going to the park with the children, and playing in our backyard.
James spent a large part of his time here kicking a soccer ball around our yard. At six, he appears to be surprisingly athletic. (Surprising mostly because no one else on our side of the family is. We’re a bunch of hopeless klutzes.) Freya, who is eight, loved the tree swing and put in a lot of time on it. There were many walks around the neighborhood and visits to the playground down the street.
A couple of days before their visit ended, we went to Target so the children could spend the money their English grandmother had given them for the trip (supplemented, as needed, by yours truly) and so I could fulfill my itch to buy a few clothing items for them. I get so few chances to do things like that.
Freya picked out a new Barbie doll with interesting accessories. James wanted a baseball bat and ball. Since he’s only six, we found a tee-ball bat and balls for him. We also got a set of plastic balls too, for practice in the yard.
A little background on that:
Joe is a huge baseball fan and it’s one of the biggest things he’s missed since he relocated to England. Thanks to the Internet and MLB.com, he can still watch his beloved Braves, though he has to make adjustments for the time differences there. The children do sometimes watch with him.
Sadly, all the local minor league teams were playing out of town during his visit, but he did get to watch a number of Braves games on television while he was here. The children begged to be allowed to watch with him (possibly to avoid going to bed, but they did actually seem interested in the games).
For a good bit of the rest of their stay, James wanted to practice batting. His dad pitched many balls to him. He showed very good hand-eye co-ordination and was able to hit the ball pretty regularly. The kid might have an athletic future. Freya also took a turn with the bat. They took the bat home, along with a couple of balls, and an old youth baseball glove that had been hanging around here since it was abandoned years ago by another grandson who grew out of it. They may be the start of a wave of interest in baseball in England!
But now they’re gone. I’m always a little melancholy after family guests leave. The yard seems to echo with the squeals and laughter of the children. The house is too silent. I miss them all and my heart is a little empty.
But then I start to put the house back in order and get back to my normal activities – a bit of website work for my few remaining clients, gardening, watching baseball, myself, and most of all writing. And I begin to plan for the next family visit, and maybe another after that.
As a wise friend once told me, “There’s no ‘hello’ without a ‘goodbye’ first.”