After two weeks of being away, my little brood is coming home. I’m so excited!
So is the dog who can’t understand when we go round night and morning to feed the cats, why little Rose and George aren’t there too. My husband has also missed them although he pretends not to show it. “I hope George doesn’t break any more of our mugs,” he says. “What time did you say they’d be back? I’ll come over and say hello.”
I doubt it. Their flight doesn’t arrive until midnight!
I spend the day giving their little home a good tidy. Isn’t it incredible how somewhere can actually get dusty even when no one is actually living in it? So I polish and vacuum and wash their sheets as well as the clothes in the linen bin. I take bag after bag of laundry back to our house as their tumble dryer is still out of action. Then I write a “welcome home” note.
“You’re spoiling them,” says my husband. But I like doing it!
I go to bed with the phone next to me. My daughter has promised to text when they’ve landed.
I try to stay awake but doze off. Then I woke with a start at 3am. Home now, says her text. Will ring when we’re up.
Better wait until then. I don’t want to tread on their toes. One thing that the holiday has taught me is that they need their own lives.
But the dog disagrees…
The following morning at 6.30am, he yanks me in the direction of their house. Why not? The children are always up at the crack of dawn and perhaps my daughter and son-in-law would like some help.
But as I peer up at their bedroom window from the street, it’s all very quiet. The last thing I want to do is wake them up – or be arrested for snooping! So I head for the sea instead with a sulking hound at my feet.
Still no text. So I have my morning dip in the sea and get back an hour later.
“They’ve been ringing you since you left,” says my husband the minute I open the front door.
I whip off my wet suit – no easy task! – quickly hop in the shower and zip over on my bike.
A wonderful welcome
“Gan, Gan!” says Rose, running towards me. George is beside himself with excitement. It’s so wonderful to feel both their arms around me.
But hang on. Something is different. They’ve grown! Both of them. Rose is behaving more like a five-year-old instead of a three-year-old in the space of two weeks. Or is it just because I haven’t been used to seeing her every day? And George can say two new words. “Ank you”. (Thank you.)
“The house looks amazing,” says my daughter. “Did you have some help?”
“No!” I say, offended that she thinks I’ve lost my knack with the duster.
“It’s only that I saw a cleaning flyer,” she says, pointing out the junk mail that arrived during their absence.
That’s the modern gran! Cleaning lady, babysitter, shoulder to cry on – not to mention our own lives. That reminds me. My editorial notes have just come through from my publishers. These are suggestions and corrections to my first draft for next year’s novel. This means I need at least four weeks to work on them.
After that, the manuscript goes to the copy editor and then to proof stage. It wasn’t until I achieved my dream of being a published writer that I found out how many stages there are to writing a book. It’s not just sitting down with a few ideas in your head.
But back to my other job…
“It’s so lovely to have you home,” I say, giving her a warm cuddle. Even now, I can barely believe my little girl is a grown mummy of two.
“It’s lovely to be back, even for a short while,” she says, hugging me back.
I’d forgotten that my son-in-law’s parents have rented a holiday house for the children and grandchildren as they do every summer. It’s a brilliant idea, especially as they don’t live near Rose and George. It gives them a perfect opportunity to see the grandchildren and also for the little ones to have a high old time with their cousins.
So they’re off again. Of course it’s only right. But I can’t help feeling an aching gap in my heart. Still at least I have those edits to get on with – not to mention a husband on post-op crutches…
I Looked Away – my new Penguin psychological thriller about a gran with a secret past is out now. You can order through https://amzn.to/2Lq2rew and https://www.hive.co.uk/Product/Jane-Corry/I-Looked-Away/23635139