Tom went to his grandparents’ today. He goes pretty much every Sunday and I get a blissful six hours or so to myself. Today I used the time productively, tidying and cleaning the house and catching up on laundry. The cold that was threatening to take hold has not yet done so, I had a great night’s sleep and woke motivated to Get On With Things. This doesn’t happen all that often so I took advantage of my energy and focus and the child-free time and did indeed Get On With Things.
Thomas had a fine time with his grandparents. They are his Dad’s parents and they live very close by. They have watched him grow from a newborn into the tall, handsome boy he is now. They are used to his quirks and of course they adore him. He adores them right back and loves going to their house, although he doesn’t actually interact with them that much while he’s there.
Thomas’ visits to his grandparents consist of him spending about 30 seconds with them to cover the pleasantries and then heading upstairs to the guest bedroom (which on Sundays becomes “his” bedroom), putting on some DVDs he has brought with him and either lying in the guest bed watching DVDs or playing with the toys he has brought and with the toys they keep for him. He emerges for snacks and meals and then heads back upstairs unless they are doing anything particularly interesting, eg if Grandad starts tinkering around with his fishing gear in the garage. At the end of the day, he packs up his DVDs and toys and returns home, Grandad hands him some pocket money, he heads straight upstairs to his room to deposit the pocket money and then Grandad leaves. If Grandad is lucky he may be escorted down the garden path to the gate although that’s tailed off a bit due to the cold and wet winter weather.
It sounds rude and terribly ungrateful but this is how he interacts with everybody. When he wants us, he finds us. He loves us, he loves our company but he likes to be alone unless he wants to show us something or needs something. At home he spends a lot of time alone in his room doing his thing. He likes his own space. I can’t fault him for that because I’m the same. I am not particularly sociable; going out socially once every three months is more than enough for me, I’m quite happy keeping in touch with friends and family by telephone or over the internet. I have difficulty understanding other people’s humour and knowing how to interact with other people; I spend most of my time out wondering if I’m talking too much or not enough, whether I’m being interesting or droning on and I tend to drink to ease my anxiety, which then leads into worrying about being too drunk unless I AM too drunk in which case I do or say something silly and get to worry about that instead. Let’s just say going out is far too stressful. I like being at home, in my own space, with my own things, not worrying.
So, Thomas plays upstairs, being treated as the fine Lord he probably really believes he is. I’m glad Thomas gets to see his grandparents so often and has such a deep, loving and understanding relationship with them in his own quirky way. I used to love visiting my grandparents every week, dressing up in Nan’s costume jewellery and old fashioned gloves, rifling through her button box and perusing the spare room with all the hidden treasures such as music boxes and paper fans from far away countries across the globe. Nan would call Grandad in from his workshop and we’d sit down to corned beef fritters and chips. In summer there would be strawberries and cream for dessert, or ice cream cut into blocks with a wafer on the side. My aunt and uncle would visit with my cousin; often there would be a house full of us chattering away and half-watching the rented TV that quietly played to itself in the background.
I was lucky enough to be brought up within the loving bonds of a close family and I want the same for Thomas too. My family is spread out but both my mother and his paternal grandparents live close by, so he sees grandparents regularly. There’s a special bond between grandparents and grandchildren; they are allies, co-conspirators, indulgent and doting, they have the ability to make a child feel like the most important, most loved person on earth. Even though he may not spend every moment with them during his visits, he knows and feels that he is loved and they know he loves them. In an eccentric but satisfying way the visits work: they get to see him, he gets spoiled rotten and I get a few hours’ peace. Everybody’s happy.
We may not do “normal” but we do “happy” well and that is all anyone can ever ask for.
Public domain picture by falco at Pixabay.com