Hugs are important to all grandparents, of course. But to us grandparents who live miles away from those little arms, this physical contact is even more precious.
We arrived in Washington state and our pot of gold at the end of the 2,000+ mile driving journey was locking arms with our grandchildren, our daughter-in-law, and our son. The joy of that reunion!
Charlotte asked her sister to pinch her. “I’m afraid I’m dreaming!” Charlotte said, hopping around.
We hugged one, then another, then two together, then that one again, then those two again. I can truly say they were as happy to be with us as we were to be with them.
Wanting to grab Sebastian — but resisting.
The oldest three are ages 8, 6, and 4 and there is no hesitation when they see us.
But Sebastian, who just turned one in August, studied us from afar. We spoke to him but made no advances. During our jubilant arrival, Sebastian had no smiles — but no fear either. He just observed us.
Getting used to us had to be on his terms, we had already resolved (yes, as much as we wanted to charge him and kiss and snuggle for five minutes straight). That resolve is what we’ve done with all the grandchildren especially as babies or toddlers.
And now that practice is especially important for this baby! For roughly the second half of his life, Sebastian has been with very few people outside his own family in his own home and yard. While babies usually grow up seeing family friends, extended family, clerks, servers, librarians, people in church, etc., our Sebastian doesn’t know much about the “outside world.”
Thanks to our daughter-in-law, he has been seeing us on FaceTime about every day. (We often refer to ourselves as “the flat people”.) But what in the world will he think when he sees us three-dimensional, we asked ourselves a hundred times on our trip. For Sebastian, who only knows us on a screen for the last six months, it’s as if Bert and Ernie came walking into his home.
On arrival day, we just kept engaging with the rest of his family and talking to Sebastian from a good distance apart. Soon my husband was on the floor, zooming some toy cars around, and Sebastian had to come over to see what the fun was. One thing led to another and car play soon turned into climbing on Grandpa’s back.
Things progressed so quickly and he got used to us in just a couple of hours. By the next day, Sebastian was holding out his hands for me to hold him.
Arms of love, arms of love, big and small. How lucky I am.
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