I admit I was surprised. What? Send Kiera and Drew to spend a week here alone with Grannie Annie and uncle Colin? Without parents? Wow! OKAY!
Not that I don’t love both my dear older son Sean, their father, and their wonderful mother Sue, now divorced but living within a quarter mile. But to spend time with grandkids in the atmosphere we are creating here felt like a glorious opportunity. As indeed it was. Though there were “times to try men’s souls,” namely, I notice (again) that this generation does not really pay attention to helping others, or to cleaning up after themselves. And that’s hard on the people they live with, including their parents! I know this from past trips to visit in Massachusetts.
And, since we were only spending a week together, I didn’t want to come off as a hard taskmaster!
So I cleaned up after them.
And besides, despite whatever their parents’ generation is instilling or not instilling into them, they’re still turning out to be pretty wonderful! Sensitive, aware, and I’m sure, tuned into the pregnant future of technology in a way that would blow my mind, should I choose to focus there. Which I don’t. On the other hand, I did ask one or the other to troubleshoot briefly, when glitches came up for me on any of my “devices” (computer, iphone, ipad). The generation just ahead of them, and that includes my housemates Dan and Alex, are also tuned in this way, for which I am eternally grateful.
Speaking of tasks, and willingness to do them, both kids did participate willingly in our regular Monday morning one-hour work party, in this case, weeding the outside of the south fence of the main garden, leaving perennial “weeds” that are also edible (purslane, and others). I did manage to get one “taskmaster” shot:
The morning after their arrival, they both shyly asked me if I would read their astrological charts for them. DONE! A one hour reading for each, alone, and recorded on their phones. As Drew said to Colin later, when asked, very serious: “It was surprisingly accurate.” To which I replied, “It will feel more accurate as you get older.” (In other words, you don’t know yourself that well yet!). Kiera was not really all that surprised by her reading, since I’ve been talking with her about her fiery chart for a few years, especially during our three-day train excursion from Boston to New York last November.
Except for the astrology, and time with the dogs (“You have two dogs?!?” Kiera, especially, was thrilled to meet Hank),
most of their time was spent outside, either riding bikes through the IU campus to downtown where they spent money the folks had given them for lunches and one (expensive) trip to a place that featured virtual experiences (don’t know what to call it, some kind of goggles that you wear to simulate whatever!), or with Colin and me, on adventures to Griffy Lake that first full day, and to the Yellowwood Dam to see if it would be suitable for UFO viewing.
The dam, from below:
Of course they disobeyed my orders and went onto the spillway, which a sign says is forbidden.
And worse: puppy Shadow followed them.
The energy between the two is remarkably balanced, even though Kiera is three years older. I take that to be mostly the work of Drew, who is a natural diplomat. Here they are, with Colin, on the teetertotter at the dam area.
I took them on a shopping expedition to Goodwill (Kiera came away loaded: “I’m still wearing the clothes I got here two years ago”), to nearby Nashville for dinner one evening, and to our weekly Community Dinner on Thursday, which, instead of being held here on the patio of Green Acres Village, was at the home of Wanda, one of “the aunties,” for a pool party!
Kiera’s natural dominatrix came out there, but playfully.
Drew made a flying leap into the pool, asked me to take a pic. I tried, but it’s hard to tell.
Battling it out . . .
Afterwards, eating peacefully on the grass, where Asiri and Sophia joined us.
This week-long period was, as far as I can tell, the first time the two of them have ever spent together with so much time for themselves. And it feels so fitting, that this should occur only one week before Kiera is due to fly off to college, at the University of Colorado in Boulder. The intermountain west is a natural choice for her. She has already climbed Mount Washington three times, once on ice with crampons and ropes. The girl is not only intensely creative, but indefatigible in her desire to conquer her own fears as she traverses wild nature. So proud of her!
When Mariella heard that she wants to major in environmental design, she went crazy with excitement. “What? That’s what I wanted to study, but found out too late. Okay, you can come here and design for the Green Acres Village!” We all nodded. I had been talking with Kiera about that very thing. She might want to do some kind of an internship here, with us.
The final day held two surprises, both of them dramatic disappointments which we managed to climb out of.
The first: Kiera had wanted to go to a certain limestone quarry, since Colin’s girlfriend Kim told her about it, a quarry that features carvings on rock faces that are hidden from view and have been there a very long time. “But you’ll have to bushwhack,” warned Kim. “And there will be snakes!” added Rebecca. But Kiera was determined. As the day came around, both Colin and I pulled out. Drew said he was game, but then, when I dropped them off at the place Kim had pointed to, said “I’m going to be shopping at Aldi’s for the next 20 or 30 minutes, so if you need me, I’m nearby.”
Well, wouldn’t you know, text message in 20 minutes. Drew didn’t want to deal with the spiders. (They had agreed that one would lead, then the other, brushing spider webs away; but there was some dispute as to who was supposed to lead and when; I didn’t ask for more details; in any case, the dispute had stopped the expedition.) When I came to pick them up they were sitting about 100 feet from each other. Hmmm . . . Kiera asked me to take them around to the other side of the quarry (which was next to another quarry; was it “active”?) Okay. When we got there, we realized that quarry was indeed very active, with trucks and booms rolling through.
This quarry expedition had been what Kiera had been looking forward to all week, and letting it go was decidedly difficult. In fact, she began to “pout” (old behavior), dropping farther and farther behind on the walk we did decide to take, together, on nearby Clear Creek trail. But she got over it, when Drew and I brilliantly decided to text her that we were going for coffee at Starbucks. And if she was here within the next ten minutes she could come too. Otherwise, we would pick her up afterwards.
Yes, she got there within ten minutes.
The second difficult experience had to do with the promised UFO watching, which was supposed to occur on the final night, at the dam. But cloud cover was just too widespread to make a dam expedition worth it. Searching for some other way to climax their visit, I came up with the idea of going to the top of the high hill that used to have the IU Bell Tower on it (it has been taken down in the past six months), and lying there, in the grass, to see what we could see.
So we did that, one on either side of me, and managed to focus our concentration well enough together for 45 minutes, to do what I suggested, part the clouds directly above us to allow in the sky. At least it did appear that we had done that! No UFOs, no ETS — but there was Mars, still in its closest approach to Earth during its retrograde period, visible above the horizon in the southeastern sky.
Lying there on the spiky grass between grandchildren Kiera and Drew, all of us expanded, aware, and focused skyward, I came as close to bliss consciousness as ever in my long life.
Earlier, the sky had announced how special that day was, gifting Bloomington with a rare, glorious sunset.
On Friday morning, dropping them off at the airport, Colin and I waved them off with “See you next summer, when you are 16 and 19!”
A wonderful week. So thankful to Sue and Sean for suggesting it.