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The Joy of Summer Visits
By Rev. Ron Jones

     Even though our grandchildren live between 100 and 200 miles from our retirement home on the Northern Neck, due to our busy schedule and that of their parents, we have limited time to spend with the four with which God has blessed us. Grandma Lois compensates by teaching Pre-K youngsters at Northumberland Elementary School during the school year. She garners her share of hugs and kisses from the tiny tots she sees five days a week. On the rare occasions when I visit her classroom, I too, get a group hug that seems unavoidable if I dare venture into the room.

     For some reason I have been demoted to the level of “boyfriend” of their teacher even though she and I have been married for 38 years. This marriage produced three children—two daughters and a son. These three have married and have produced the two girls and two boys we now deeply love and admire.

     Of course, since the school months provide us scant opportunities to have time with these delightful little individuals, summer becomes the time to have all four here for extended visits.

     Interestingly, what seemed impossible to accomplish with their parents in that a deep interest in science never seemed to flourish among the three children, it has become true with all the grandchildren. Almost any sight or sound or happening in the outdoors called to their attention is accepted with oohs and aahs. Then with nearly permanent recall after a visit with Grandma and Poppy, they tell their parents about the events when they arrive to take them home. Talk about rewarding!

     Each child has come along with surprising attitudes and distinct personalities. Jordan came into our lives when we needed some diversions. Worsening health for me meant that I cherished every moment so her birth was such an exciting event for us. We made it to Bethesda Naval Hospital within a couple of hours of her birth so we have photos with her that we will always cherish.

     As she grew and learned to talk she copied Mother Julia and called me “Poppa”. That always brings a smile to my face, As the years have gone by she has shown great promise and as a gifted student has earned scholarships to attend weekend classes at University of Virginia. She is already a computer whiz. Of course, that has come naturally because her dad is a systems expert. Now at age 11 she is heavily into clothes and makeup and “teenage things”.

     On May 25th and 26th, 1995, both daughters blessed us with the birth of boys. Though they are of different body builds and one is a little larger than the other, when they are together they demonstrate a deep love for one another and when Joshua and Evan visit together they form a formidable team.

     I have a tough time putting anything over on them which is my penchant for trying to do. My efforts to fool Evan into thinking the fake geese beside our birdbath were quickly scuttled when he wanted to know what those metal bars were coming out of their backs. He had me!

     Together they demonstrate great problem solving abilities. I know every grandparent thinks their “grands” are the smartest ones alive but a day around these boys leaves me speechless. At seven I fear they will soon be bored to tears with what schools have to offer them. Time will tell. Evan is truly the science buff I had hoped for with his mother. In her adult years she has become more adept with bird identifications and field lore and it shows up when we are out hiking. I do my best to put lots of ideas in that very fertile mind. The old saying that “One can almost see the wheels turning” certainly is true with Evan. Who knows what the future holds for him?
Josh, while about eight hours older than Evan, is not as vocal but that fertile little mind is obviously always looking for new things to learn. Grandma provides lots of learning materials for all of them to use while they visit with us and he really gets into them. Some physical challenges have kept him from developing some of the skills Evan has accomplished but he, like his sister, is a computer enthusiast and we have provided him with learning games to use while he is with us.

     Our youngest grandchild is four year old Jessica. As an only child and obviously provided with some great genetics, she has developed a vocabulary far advanced for a child her age. The thinking power, reasoning ability and forming of cogent ideas tells us that she is leading her parents on a wild ride already. Her best gift to us is her wish to stay with us even when her parents arrive to take her home. Her common refrain is “I don’t want to go home!” You can bet we love it.

     Yes, grand parenting is a great experience and we always look forward to the next summer when we can again joyfully have them with us, especially here on the beautiful Northern Neck. Last year we took them for a wonderful boat trip on the Bay so maybe next summer we can include that again. We will spend the next 11 months planning for next year. 

© 2002 Rev. Ron Jones All rights reserved


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