After driving all night from Athens and taking Gma Shirley to her place down the road and around the corner from us and down that road (where Gerry used to ride his horse to visit Vickie during their high school days), Tara and her three boys arrived at Woodsong around 4 a.m. Tuesday.
Gerald had gone to bed very early with plans of hearing them when they arrived although we had left the porch light on and the door unlocked. They entered so quietly that we might not have heard except Aidan, who was carried in after Payton still in his carrier, was some what disoriented from sleeping. He spoke up while Tara went back to get sleeping Maddux from his car seat. Gerald and I both heard that sweet familiar voice form our bedroom beside the front hall, and we hopped out of bed to welcome our returning guests.
Tara had the two older boys in bed asleep almost immediately and as soon as Payton had been fed, they too retired to their downstairs bedrooms. Gerald and I were astounded at how peacefully and quickly Tara, Aidan, and two babies were settled for the rest of the night, and we too went back to sleep peacefully ourselves.
Gerald slept late—almost to seven o’clock, and when he returned from his daily walk down the lane to fetch our morning paper, Aidan had come up to the kitchen to join him for cereal. Of course, Aidan and Gerald both had big plans for the short time they would be with us. After playing in the lime pile and rides on the “mule,” the big lawn mower, the tractor, and the toy tractor, Gerald’s shed was emptied of vehicles, and they both ran down enough to come back into the kitchen.
By this time I was up. Aidan explained to me, “I’m a little tired. I don’t usually sleep this early.” I knew what he meant. I slept a little earlier than usual myself.
I asked Aidan if he would like an egg, and he said yes. (We do 30-second eggs at our house. Spray a microwave-safe dish and break an egg into it. Beat the egg and then cook in the microwave for 30 seconds.) Toast? Yes. Then when the toast was done, Aidan decided he needed peanut butter and jelly as well as the egg between those two slices of wheat bread. Of course, Gma Sue was glad to oblige although I supposed he would never consume all that. But with only a little crust remaining, his plate was soon emptied.
Nest our courageous Tara came up with 15-month old Maddux, who was feeling shy but cheerful. She fed him cups of milk and Fruit Loops. Then Aidan declared that Maddux needed an egg. I prepared to fix him one, and Aidan took the egg from my hand saying, “I want to peel it.” Then I understood why he wanted Maddux to have an egg. He enjoyed tapping it and breaking it into the bowl with just a little spilling on himself and the counter. Maddux didn’t eat much of the egg, but he did get some protein and his big brother got practice peeling a raw egg. Gma Sue got an early morning dose of pleasure.
Down in Georgia, Gpa Gerry had helped Maddux overcome his fear of the noise of vehicles—so much so that Maddux did not want to get off the four-wheeler down there. So Gerald had to take both the big boys outside for farm adventures. Payton woke up and Tara brought him upstairs freshly diapered and swaddled in a blanket. He was wide awake, content and cozy while I held him to allow Tara to eat breakfast and busy herself with other chores.
Occasionally he had a digestive pain of some sort and made noises of discomfort but would soon be happy looking around with his big eyes trying to discover who this new person was holding him. After quite awhile, his blanket was disturbed enough that I took him and laid him on the dining room table intending to re-swaddle him.
That was just what he needed—to lie free on his blanket and swing his arms and kick his tiny legs. His mother and I were a fascinated audience as he went through his round of exercises for us and showed us how close he could come to rolling himself over.
Eventually Tara brought his clothes to put on him. I had assumed he would go through life wearing his brothers’ well-furnished wardrobes. However, since he was born early and was smaller than the other two boys, she still had some never-used newborn outfits to use with him that they’d never been small enough to wear. As beautiful as he had been with just the diaper kicking and stretching his naked limbs, he now looked so sweet in his tiny soft shirt and pants, which his mother with all her experience placed on him with much quiet efficiency. Again in his blanket, I was gifted with him once more, and Payton and I enjoyed the morning together. And it was a gorgeous morning—warm with gentle breezes that felt so good.
By this time, Aidan and Maddux had been outfitted with life jackets by Gpa Gerald for a ride in the rowboat down at the lake. Tara, Payton, and I had to go see all this fun. The drive-way was cluttered with the vehicles that Gpa had shared, and the little wheelbarrow and shovel was left by the lime pile—a pile Gerald created for these great grandsons under the open shed at back of his shop.
All too soon, it was 11, and Tara wanted to get back on the road to avoid rush-hour traffic if possible. (She had experienced that in Atlanta.) We could not in good conscience encourage her to stay longer. We had had a great time, heard about Geri Ann’s six home runs in the Southern Force tourney, and had fresh news from her mother and daddy down in Georgia. Her car was repacked, and we saw how she managed to get three car seats in the back. With another round of hugs and kisses and silent prayers for their safety, we waved as they started down our lane for the long trip ahead of them to reach their upstate home where Daddy was eagerly awaiting the return of his family.
Maybe tomorrow I will reluctantly pick up all the toys scattered throughout the house.
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