Sunday, July 12, 2015

How to Get a Really Quiet House...

We've just had the loveliest nine days of family visits. First this sweetheart brought her parents (my son and dear daughter-in-law) along for an extended weekend, and my brother and his wife dropped in for a few hours. Not nearly long enough, but a great reminder of the many summer days we've spent together through the years watching the kids play and grow together, the house and gardens being transformed from the original Lindal cedar cottage on a lot whose prime attraction was the beach. . .

But that's another story. Now where was I? Oh yes, the lovely litany of visiting family. Paul got back from picking Nola up in Vancouver just in time to catch my brother and sister-in-law's visit, but they hurried off to the ferry not long after, leaving a tasty salmon behind (my brother's skills as a sports fisherman are enviable and much appreciated here).

Just the six of us now, we settled in to watch the little cousins get to know each other. Nola's glad to be an Only, but she thoroughly enjoys all her small cousins, and she easily coaxed smiles from Eloise  (who is obviously quite ready with them anyway). Just as entertaining was teasing and being teased by her uncle.

The down-island crew left Tuesday morning, and then we had our Little Girl all to ourselves. Such a joy to note her burgeoning capabilities: she picked up kayaking quickly, swims confidently, and manages with aplomb the gears and hand-brakes on the new-to-her used bike we picked up to replace a now-too-small used bike we bought her only a year or two ago. Now, there's not a hill on the island she can't pedal up with ease.

Amidst all the physical activity, Little Girl also enjoys her quiet time. The first day we were on our own, she announced that she was going to play with her Playmobil figures and she gradually took over the living room, entirely happy for nearly two hours with no other company but that supplied by her imagination. Elaborate dramas were enacted, most of them sotto voce although a discreetly curious eavesdropper could pick up the gist... Just saying...

Besides making up her own stories, Little Girl also disappeared regularly into the pages of other fantasies

And we ended every busy day with a movie followed by her reading to one of us from an easy "chapter book" before I read to her from an old classic I'd read her mother, E. Nesbit's Five Children and It
Perhaps my fondest memories of this particular visit are of the time we spent in the garden together "doing art," as she termed it. 

But her mom and dad arrived yesterday afternoon and we listened to the very welcome rain on the skylight as we feasted on paella and blackberry pie, and this morning I made cinnamon buns that somehow felt like an edible expression of  that old childlike gesture of I Love You This Much... 
And then we all checked the house and the deck one more time for what they might have forgotten, and Paul loaded their gear into the wheelbarrow and they all headed down to the boat. I stayed home with the good-byes echoing in my ears, the hugs still reverberating in my arms and chest, the sweet kisses still sinking into my cheeks. You'd think I might feel a bit sad, alone in my quiet, empty house....

Hmmmmm, you might be wrong.

After a week that included Pitch Perfect, The Underdog Kids, Eloise (I bought the DVD and the book for Eloise, but figured she mightn't mind her older cousin enjoying it while E grows up a bit first), The Swords in the Stone, and The Neverending Story, Netflix has informed me that Season 3 of Rectify is now available. So guess what I'm doing as soon as I publish this post. . .

Of course, I'll check back between episodes to read your comments. Hope you had a good weekend!




17 comments:

  1. What a great summer you're having! I've read that only children prefer more alone time (than kids with siblings). I can say that this is certainly the case with my only child.

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    1. Now, I was thinking maybe it is a girl thing, as my only grandson is really just beginning to want alone time rather than constant attention.

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  2. It sounds like heaven, every second of it, including the quiet time now. Enjoy!

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  3. E. Nesbit! One of my favorite authors forever and a complete flop with my sons decades ago - how lucky you are to have a grandchild to share with! I just found a well-read but not musty copy of The Enchanted Castle (which I THINK is completely new to me!) at a flea market and am saving it for a time of special need (long flight, maybe?) but now am tempted to dive in. Are you familiar with Ms. Nesbit's life story, very colorful. Lovely arms on Eloise, and the children in your family have such great names!

    Ceci

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    1. It's as tricky with Nola as it was with my kids, the diction and that very British circumlocution that involves dry wit very pleasing to adults but not easily detectable by young readers.But the Psammead is great fun and the concept of wishes gone disastrous captivates. I'm really hoping I can track down DVDs of the movie version, made fairly recently, as was a TV series. The Railway Children, as well, I hope, both book and film. I don't know Ms. Nesbit's life story but now I'm going to do some research. Can't remember The Enchanted Castle, but will look for it now. Lucky you, and how fun to find a kindred reading spirit ;-)

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  4. Sounds wonderful, both the wonderful fullness of it and the quiet that follows.

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    1. Yes, it takes one, I think, to appreciate the other. . . right now, I'm revelling in the quiet!

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  5. I love Eloise. Nola is getting to look so mature.You must enjoy having the wee ones visit…and going home again.

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  6. Beautiful granddaughters :-) merry little one and a grown up Nola. How wonderful to have young and active grand parents to spend time with,and vice versa! I envy you in a good way! And,yes,it is nice also to have your time for yourself !
    I had family reunion this weekend ,too. My only son got his master in finance on our math university so we were celebrating. Time goes by.....
    Dottoressa

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    1. Thanks, D. feel so very fortunate that we have these little ones while we still have energy and time to enjoy them.
      Congratulations to your son on this significant accomplishment (and to you as well, for raising him!)

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    1. Oh, I'm glad I managed to give a sense of that joy! Thanks for commenting, Melissa.

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  8. I am so looking forward to sharing favourite books with B. and toys saved in the garage for her and trips and films and. . . Good to hear of a contented only child too.

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    1. It's such a delight to be able to share these favourites again. And yes, I think it's time to dispel all that mythology about Lonely Onlies. . . just not the case much of the time.

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  9. I love those photos beyond.

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I'd love to hear your response to my post. Agree, disagree, even go off on a tangent, I love to know you're out there, readers. Let's chat, shall we? I apologize, though, for the temporary necessity of the Word Verification -- spam comments have been tiresomely numerous lately, and I'm hoping to break that pattern.

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