Sunday, January 18, 2015

Empty nest once more

A month felt like such a long time when the family arrived, in the middle of December. The weather was pleasant, and although their main aim was to relax and have 'family time', with a few walks and games, we had other plans, when opportunity arose: perhaps a first dip in the sea for David. Perhaps a day or two out somewhere other than Larnaka. Richard had a few household jobs to do which he thought would be more enjoyable with Daniel. And they had a list of people they wanted to see.

But there was plenty of time....

The first few days were spent settling in, letting David become accustomed to us, establishing some kind of loose pattern to the day. There were Christmas gifts to wrap, mince pies to make, and general shopping and cooking. We played a few games, saw our close local friends once or twice, and looked forward to a Christmas as a complete family.

Christmas was good. Boxing Day was relaxing, other than Tim getting to the airport for ten days in the UK.

Then suddenly New Year's Eve was upon us. We spent a few hours with our good friends but were all tired; none of us stayed up to midnight. On New Year's Day we had some other friends for lunch, and that was good too. But we couldn't figure out what had happened to the intervening days... did the end of December just vanish, wiped out by the history monks?

Never mind, we thought. There were still two-and-a-half weeks together. Lots of time to get things done, without the distraction of Christmas.

But the weather was bad, so rather than going out we stayed indoors. And the practicalities of life with a baby mean that more mundane things don't get done. I spent a lot of time shopping and cooking and cleaning the kitchen, and we sat around meal tables eating and chatting and enjoying being together. David progressed to eating three 'solid' meals each day: an adult-sized portion of porridge with a mashed banana at breakfast, and usually something like stewed/pureed apples and pears at lunchtime, carrots and sweet potatoes, or home-made soup for dinner. I enjoyed making his main meals and freezing increasingly large sized portions; but with that, and family cooking (both meat and vegetarian), and extra things like making ketchup, lemonade, granola, coconut milk (etc) the days filled up rapidly.

David is an absolute delight, but is quite an intense baby needing a lot of attention. He keeps his parents busy at night, still waking at least twice; more when he's teething. He's cut one good tooth and several others are about to poke through. We've seen him put on weight and a little chubbiness, we've seen his balance improving when he sits, and a determination to walk before he crawls. His babbling has turned into attempts at individual words. He loves to smile at Grandpa and play with Grandma (yes, that's me!) It's been the most amazing privilege to spend the past month with such a delightful little boy and see his progress.

A week ago, three of us (thankfully not including David) caught the flu. Mine was relatively mild; Daniel's was unpleasant but short-lived; Richard's was draining and left him with a nasty cough. So there were no trips out. Most of the planned household jobs didn't get done. Daniel and Becky managed to see a couple of people on their list, but no more. The sea was far too cold to think of David taking even a tiny paddle.

And then it was their last day.

I was about to text Sheila to arrange when to meet for our early morning walk when Daniel and David appeared in our part of the house. They decided to come with us, David in the 'ergo' carrier which Sheila has lent them. It was lovely to have them with us and they both enjoyed four kilometres along the trail, though it started to spit with rain by the time we got home.

We decided to go out to lunch, to a little cafe Daniel and Becky had been to on their own a couple of times,. We took his last container of fruit puree and David demonstrated just how much he liked it: 

We thought about ice cream afterwards but it was still chilly so we came home. Then the afternoon flew past while they packed. 

We had a sandwich at the airport before saying goodbye, and although I felt sad, we knew it was time for them to return home and to their own lives. Adult children have to move on and we were so thrilled that they had been willing to spend so long with us. We watched them go, and I remained dry-eyed. 

I got up this morning and determined to catch up with email, and photos, and write a blog post. And everything was just fine... 

... until I sat down for lunch. 

I caught sight of the empty high chair. 

And I broke down completely. 


Anvilcloud said...

You had a good visit, even if it did not go as planned. Poignant ending to your post.

DaisyCrazy said...

oh little ones have a way to plant roots in your heart so quickly. and it´s so difficult when they live so far away; but you can plan on visiting him soon so you´ve got something to look forward to. and of course you can keep up on his progress with skype, viber etc :)