Sunday, 28 August 2016

Missing You, Already

All three girls came to us for lunch on Friday. Part of a plan to allow mum and dad some packing time and space before all five head off to France the very next morning.

Our first floor flat is quite small. And it becomes unbelievably small when three active children are slotted into the equation. It's also quite warm all year round. I'm sure the girls think it has something to with being old. I believe it’s because we’re closer to the sun. The girls feel the warmth, even during the winter months. So we heat fill them up with eggs, chips and beans, then offer an ice-cream dessert as an antidote extra special treat.

Then I suggest, “Let’s walk to the shop,” (only a mile across country).

Muted response.

“We could buy lollies.”

Did three girls ever don their shades and sunhats more quickly? And I speak as someone who has just watched a considerable slice of the Olympics. So I know how to gauge speed.

Trips to the shop seem to take no time at all in their company. All the constant chatter, the running ahead (them, not me) and the extras like choosing an apple that’s fallen from the tree near the railway bridge, setting it still in the middle of the road, and seeing who can kick theirs over the humpback bridge with the fewest attempts.

Two ‘Pop-ups’ and a ‘Twister’ later, and we’re plodding our way home. Our group becomes straggled due to an almost microscopic blister on Iris’ toe. I hang back with her, offering reassurance that her foot will be intact when we get home. It seems to work, for a while, until she complains of stitch. She’s holding her left side, at a point around her hip.

“I don’t think you get stitch there."

“You can get stitch anywhere,” she says. We walk on in silence. Well, I walked, she limped, slightly.

Then, at the end of an enjoyable few hours, dad came to pick them up. Normally when we say goodbye, it’s in the knowledge that they will be just a couple of miles away. But this was us saying goodbye before they crossed the channel to France. An altogether different prospect.

The view from the gîte appears to be quiet and still. Rather like our days without the girls in them.

They were hugged, we were hugged. We did ‘high fives’ (several times) and we told them how much we love them. Then, just when I thought the old heartstrings couldn’t tighten much more, Imogen looked me square in the eye and asked a question in such a way that only a promise would suffice as an answer.

“Will you still be here when we get back?”

All three stared, waiting for my response.

We’ll do our best. Of course we will.”

Ouch, that really tugged, young lady. But who knows what though processes are taking place inside such a young head? This is the girl who asked me to print a photo of Monty, their dog, so she can see him when she's away. I had to print another, of all three girls, to pin up next to his basket, so he could see them, too.

8 comments:

  1. Aww -- that's so sweet! I'm enjoying following their adventures on Facebook.

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    1. Yes, they're having a wonderful time.

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  2. I've really enjoyed time with our grandchildren this week - they're younger than yours, but it's the change of pace I like, such as playing dinosaur dominoes for two hours with a four year old or walking very very slowly around the farm, looking at tiny details.

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    1. Couldn't agree more about the change of pace, Fran. We're noticing a slight increase in speed now. Not sure if they're picking up, or we're slowing down.:-/

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  3. I really enjoyed this Martin, and that question which stopped you in your tracks - my goodness.

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    1. One of the most endearing things is the directness. You know where you stand with kids...most of the time.

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  4. Lovely post, Martin. Those words from your little Imogen brought a tear to my eye.

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    1. Just between me and you, they had the same effect on me.

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