Recently, my daughter and her oldest and youngest daughters were at my house for a life-changing visit. The oldest is a sophomore in high school and has begun her search for the perfect college. I was delighted that she was considering 3 in the Columbus area, but I questioned the wisdom of choosing one so far from home, as it is a 2-flight journey and quite expensive. “Is she prepared to stay at school until Christmas?” I asked my daughter.
“Well, I think she is considering coming home on weekends to Grammie’s,.” my daughter slyly replied. I was thrilled. The thought of having my sweet and thoughtful granddaughter spend weekends with me while she attended a nearby college was very appealing.
After a day of travel, which was stressful enough, and two intense days of touring 3 colleges, it was time to relax and have some fun together. We were lucky enough to finally have a bright and pleasant day to all go to the zoo, thanks to my generous friend Janet, who did the driving. She also took photos and was my guide while my daughter was busy with her 5-year-old. I had not been to the zoo in many years, and it was amazing to see how it has expanded and become much more entertaining. The highlight of the day for me was feeding the giraffes. In case you’ve never fed a giraffe at the zoo, you have to walk up a ramp to a platform nearly 15 feet high, so the giraffe can poke his head through an opening and gently take the overpriced leaf from your hand. There is no snatching with teeth but a gentle touch of the lips on your hand. Other new features were almost as much fun. Of course I had to have my picture taken sitting next to the brand new bronze statue of Jack Hannah sitting on a park bench, holding a penguin and another animal, which I think was a baby cheetah. Mrs. Hannah was standing behind her husband with one hand on his shoulder and the other on the cheetah. Both my granddaughters rode the camels, and there would have been a picture of me riding one too, except that I chickened out at the last minute. I think the highlight of the day for the 5-year-old was the pony rides. At first, she didn’t want to ride the train, but like any 5-year-old, she changed her mind when we were about as far away as we could get, and then she wanted to ride it twice, this time with Grammie. Another new feature was panning for “gems” for the kids. Seeing my interest in what this was all about, Janet insisted I get in there and try it too. Here’s a picture of the 3 of us, playing in the dirt and water. Later, when we got home, sorting those pretty rocks kept my 5-year-old busy for quite a long time, sorting and incorporating them into some sort of art project. Meanwhile, my college-bound granddaughter played along, all the while pondering which one of the dozen colleges she will have visited.. I hope it’s one near me. What a wonderful experience it will be for both of us. We may not get to go to the zoo, but we’ll go to concerts and plays, out for dinner, shopping, and to church. We’ll play Scrabble, watch a movie at home, cook together, and take long walks around the neighborhood. “Pick Grammie, pick me!” I want to say. But I have to remind myself, she’s choosing a college, not where she will spend her weekends. And oh yes, we do have to consider there might someday be a boyfriend in the picture too. Isn’t grandmothering a blast?
P.S. If you got this in your inbox, you will have to go to the website to see the pics.
Author of “The Bumpy Road to Assisted Living A Daughter’s Memoir”
Available at Amazon.com, dldbooks, and NLS Talking Books DB 91261