My grandson is 3.6 years old. 3.6 of those 3.6 years he has spent a great portion of his week with me. One of the reasons that I usually do not shoot on Tuesday and Thursday evenings is because those are days that I pick him up from day care. He usually spends the night. The usual game plan goes something like this: Pick him up at 5pm, give or take a few minutes. When I get to daycare, the entire remaining group of kids are well behaved, sitting in a circle and listening to a story. I walk in to sign him out, he sees me or some other kid tells him that I am there. He gets up and runs over exclaiming “Grandpa!”… shoots right by me to his cubbie where he grabs some stashed items and we head for the door. Usually he makes a mad dash back into the room full of kids to say “Good bye” or now it is “see you later”.
On the way out, I ask him how school was. His answer is always “was good”. For a lot of people, he is still kind of hard to understand but I usually get it. On the way out we look for rabbits in the yard. He tried to catch one the other day but did not quite make it. We grab hands heading into the street and discuss the importance of looking for cars because they are not looking for us. We get into the truck, buckle up and head down the street. We talk about where we are going, what is left, what is right, where the stops signs are and why they are important. We head though town and he points out landmarks such as the library, the creek, the downtown and my shop. We look for kids in the local playground. We drive up the street to our house and he asks if my 17 year old son is home. He checks to see if his car is there, and if so will plan on “going on an adventure” with him out in the yard. He is a huge Indiana Jones fan.
While the adventure happens, I begin to make supper. He comes in, plays, watches something on tv, has some chocolate milk. Soon, supper is ready and we all eat. After, he is back to playing while things are cleaned up in the kitchen. Sometimes he helps and jokes around that he should try to take a bath in the dishwasher or the sink. By 7:30 or so, we try to hit the tub and figure out which PJ’s would be the coolest to wear to bed that night. By 8 or 8:30 (now that he’s older) we hit the bedroom and read through 6 or 7 books. Since he goes to the library and picks out some of the same things over and over again, he seems to know all of the words. I try to trip him up once in a while but he always catches me. We have lights out and we take turns telling stories, mostly about Indiana Jones.
In the morning, we get up, clean up… have a little breakfast and he’s back to daycare.
It is a routine. It does not change much and we have a lot of conversation. We’ve been doing this for 3.6 years. The amount of time I spend with him varies as his mother works some interesting hours from time to time. This week he stayed 3 nights and I picked him up from daycare again tonight so his father could pick him up at our house… he would not make to to daycare in time.
And like I said previously, this is a routine. There are not a lot of changes or surprises. I always know that he will leave and I always know that I will see him in a couple of days or so and we will do it all over again. Knowing all of that it still knocks me on my ass when I have to really say goodbye. Tonight, for some reason it was harder than other days. Both of us “men” were pretty wet in the face. I love it and I hate it and I’ll do it all again next week.