We've had lunch. We've attempted naps and some quiet time to alleviate the bad case of the crankies to no avail. The toddler, preschooler, and kindergartener are all getting under each other's skin and getting on my last nerve. I hear a car pull up and park on the street out front. The door closes and now there are footsteps on my porch. I wasn't expecting anyone so I am a little surprised. Maybe it's for the neighbor in the other half of this duplex. No...
There's a happy little face peering in my front window now. I see her and start for the door. She motions me to stop before tapping on the window to catch the attention of the arguing kids at my feet. I direct their attention to the window where they see their great-grandmother, my Nana, smiling and waving through the window. They all race to the front door as I try to open it. They tumble around Nana's legs trying to reach her as she bends to hug them. We are a tangled and squealing knot of family all bunched up at the door.
Finally, Nana is able to make her way inside the living room from the cramped space by the door. I'm able to give her a hug at last. Nana announces that she was just out for a drive and decided to stop by. Understand she lives 90 miles away. Ah, the joys of retirement!
The kids are anxious to show her their toys, books, artwork, anything really. Nana thinks nothing of getting down on the floor with them. She makes plastic dinosaurs knock down towers of blocks for Isaac. She has a tea party with Calypso. She reads books to Diana. I take a minute to breathe and enjoy not having to be the sole source of entertainment or referee of fights for a few moments.
Nana announces the floor has become a bit hard and she is going to sit on the couch with me while they keep playing. The kids agree happily and begin playing together nicely for the first time all day. Nana and I enjoy a bit of time catching up with each other. She tells me about how she is doing in her bowling league and where her next trip will be. I tell her about the new things the kids are up to.
I invite Nana to stay for dinner since it's getting to be that time of day. She declines telling me she needs to be on her way. She never was one to stay put in one place too long. I urge her to stay just long enough to eat. She laughs and says maybe next time. The kids beg her to come back to the floor with them. She bends to hug each one as she reaches for her coat.
As unexpectedly as she arrived she is gone that quickly but her visit has blown out the stale air of contention and replaced it with a light breeze of happiness. The kids return to their toys but without arguments this time. I head to the kitchen to begin dinner with a lighter heart.
So many times over the years my grandmother would pop in like this sometimes alone, sometimes with a carload of her friends, always unannounced and yet always at a moment when we most needed something to break up the monotony or soothe some grouchy kids (or a grouchy mommy). Nana has been gone for many years and I sometimes I long for a surprise visit from her just so we can share some laughs. Today, on her birthday, I'll just hope you enjoy a favorite recurring scene that left lots of happy memories of her.