All I had was twenty-one days to unpack those stowaway hugs and kisses with not a moment to spare. The pendulum of a grandmother’s clock would sway and tick in perfect harmony with the seconds I had remaining with those four precious grandchildren I flew ten hours over the ocean to see.
Such has been the the life while visiting my military children and grandchildren, where an hourglass of sifting sands measures our borrowed time together; a constant vigil in plain sight from the mantle of a grandmother’s heart.
The mirror of our portraits taken reflects the passage of more than a decade, yet fails to reveal the months we’ve sadly missed and spent apart due to the long and winding miles which separate.
But following your military family from “move to move” has given me a Tom Sawyer adventure I wouldn’t have sought out on my own. The orders of our officer son has taken him from the mountains to the islands, with the nation’s capital in between; and this grandmother has been blessed to go along for the ride.
The islands have been a page torn and written from a place so different than my own. Most kids ride their bicycles to school; or walk the twenty minute stretch each way as I did with my grandchildren. Shoes are optional (seriously); at church, at school, even at Starbucks and chickens run freely and are an unassuming part of the landscape as squirrels are where I live.
The breathtaking view of our son’s back yard is the once-in-a-lifetime sandbox for our grandchildren. The memories they’ve made with a pail, a shovel and an afternoon in the sun.
The islands haven’t been my favorite place to visit, but now as the moving boxes are being packed once again, I’m almost sad for myself that I failed to see the beauty of this tropical place.
My private moments along the sandy shores of the ocean will be terribly missed as the music of the waves comforted my lonely soul when I longed for those missing me on the mainland. This song will forever play in my mind.The final sands of the hourglass have all sifted into a mound of borrowed time and the pendulum of this grandmother’s clock has struck midnight for the final evening with my military babies.
In a few short hours they will walk far from my view and even further from the reach of my hugs. The thought is almost unbearable at times.
I went to each of my babies rooms to have one final moment before kissing them good-night.
How do you keep it together when your little boy begs you to stay for five more weeks?
My oldest granddaughter had no words but her moistened eyes spoke volumes.
Then there’s those little girls who didn’t really understand I was leaving until they woke up crying when they couldn’t find me that following morning.
The dam of my heart almost burst at the airport when my son inquired how the kids did during our final good-by. But the floods overtook me as I gazed out the window during an early morning phone call with my husband, wishing for a return flight into my grandchildren’s arms.
With layovers and connecting flights, I arrived back home on the mainland almost a complete day later (at least it seemed), with a bit of my husband’s heart waiting for me upon my return. I wouldn’t see him until later that afternoon when our reunion took place in the parking lot of his work.
The void of my heavy heart will linger for days until I reacquaint myself with the daily steps of my routine.
I long though for the island where my Hawaiian babies continue to live at their new address until next summer. The thoughts of my grandchildren will consume me until I release them back to God and reach for His peace until we are back together once again for an hourglass of borrowed time.
My son’s new orders will relocate his family in a few short months and the Tom Sawyer adventure of this grandmother continues, wherever the military ride will take me.