Small Helpings

I admit defeat. With my daughter and her family living with us this summer, it’s impossible for me to find the time or concentration to string together much more than a few paragraphs. But I hate to just have this time fly by with nary a word from me. Because it’s a pretty amazing experience. So rather than try to wax long and eloquent over deep subjects, I’m going to try to do shorter posts that hit some highlights. Let me know if you like it or not…

Some quick background. Last year, my daughter, son-in-law, one grandbaby and one grandson, moved from England to Palo Alto so Juan Carlos could get his Masters at Stanford’s Sloan business school. He quit his job to make this investment in their future, and between a strenuous academic program and the demands of little kids, the two of them worked their butts off all year. Juan Carlos graduated last month, and without a job to return to, we convinced them that moving in with us was a practical and reasonable solution to their summer plans. JC could job hunt, and Carolyn, who is expecting baby #3 next month, could live in an air-conditioned house with built-in babysitters who work cheap (that would be us, the grandparents).

The Monday after graduation, we helped them pack up their stuff and drive down to Los Angeles. On Tuesday, Juan Carlos left for a two-week trip to South America. The trip was the last part of the business program, and a wonderful opportunity for JC to network with movers and shakers in Chile, Argentina and Brazil. But it was also a chance for him to spend a few days with his family, who live in Santiago.

So the trip was all goodness. But.

Not ALL of us had two weeks of dinners out, sightseeing, intelligent conversations and cocktails. SOME of us had conversations like this:

Cue in the sound effect: Matilda is shrieking.
Carolyn: “Lucas, don’t hit Matilda. Stop that right now.”
Lucas: “But she stepped on my train track.”
Carolyn: “It was an accident. Could you please use your words? Hey, stop that right now, Matilda! No hitting your brother! Lucas, no shoving!”
(More wails, this time from both children)

Repeat this episode over and over and over.

We have varieties on this, of course. Sobs ensue from Matilda when she is cruelly kept from poking the dog’s eyes out with Thomas the Train. Wails celebrating the unfairness of life vibrate from their room when they are unceremoniously put down for naps. Howls of protest when diapers require changing, a favorite t-shirt gets dirty, or it’s time to get out of the pool.

Now mind you, this is intermixed with the pure joy of being with our daughter and her family. Which is no little thing. And I wouldn’t trade this time for anything. But I do have an insider trading tip for you, my friends. Go invest in Bacardi, which produces Bombay Sapphire gin. Because I’m predicting killer sales for them this summer, all coming from my house.

Martini, anyone?


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