My grandson visits each summer. The visits started when he was left in my care when he was two years old. His parents has divorced and were struggling establishing a new life for themselves. At one point his mother had no place to live, and my grandson came to live with me for a few months. Then his dad joined him for another several months. In total, my grandson stayed with me for almost 18 months. Since then, he has made the long travel to spend three weeks to a month with Granny each summer.
At Granny’s he learned to swim in a water trough. He is a very good swimmer. I thought he had taken swimming lessons, but he informed me he had learned to swim with my coaching in the large water trough during the summer visits. He has learned how to care for the sheep, horses and dogs. He is gaining in his ability to use the border collies when moving the sheep. He has helped to build dog houses, sheds, fence and paint. Planting trees, bushes and caring for the garden are also skills he has learned at Granny’s. Our two favorite activities, horseback riding and fishing.
The trip takes 15 hours to make from his house to mine. During the long drive we talk and catch up. We also talk about what we are going to do during his visit.
Chores are the first thing we do each day. He helps on his summer visits. This year after a couple of times helping, he took to doing the chores on his own every morning. When he first arrives he asks about the sheep, which ones are new and gets acquainted with the older sheep again.
He owns two ewes. This year we discussed that the older ewe has gained years and will need to be sold this fall or next spring. He has had her since she was a lamb, his first sheep. He understood, having learned through the years that everything gets older each year. There comes a time when they have to be sold. The profit from his ewes is put into a college fund for him to use later.
This year he is going to be thirteen. His horse is 16 years old. When he mounted we had to adjust the stirrups on his saddle. I moved them down to the last setting, the longest the stirrups will lengthen. This summer is the last summer he will be able to use the children’s saddle he has been riding in since he was two years old. Next time he visits and rides, he will have to use an adult saddle.
The other activity he has learned from Granny, and loves is fishing. Starting at the age of two, we would go to the lake with Grandpaw, and let him reel in the perch we hooked, only to take them off and let them go. Soon he was hooking his own fish. Through the years he has learned to bait his hook, put different fishing gear on his pole, and catch the big fish. When he was eight years old he caught his first big catfish, a 28 inch channel catfish, using his first adult size fishing pole. This year, he caught a 20 1/2 inch channel catfish, and a 20 inch blue catfish, the first we have caught in “our lake”. We use a tape measure in measuring the fish we catch, no “fish stories” being told.
He enjoys the sheep, horseback riding, and fishing. This year I learned he has another interest at present, baking and decorating cakes. Since his cousin was having a birthday, we decided to make her a cake. We baked the cake from scratch, no box mixes. Made cream cheese frosting. Since his cousin loves strawberries, we added strawberries to the cake. The cake looked awesome and was very delicious. His cousin loved it.
When he visits each summer, I focus on him. This is the first summer I have been doing the blog. I was not able to write during his visit, I wanted to capture as many memories as I could. It will not be long before he is busy or has other things needing to be done, and can not come for a summer visit.
Life is always changing. My grandson is growing up, he is no longer the small two year old, he is becoming a young man. This fact was an undertone to our visit this year. We both realize he is growing up, and life will be changing for him. We are not sure how many more summer visits are in our future. But they will always be precious, the future visits and the past visits.