It was a long fifteen hour flight from Los Angeles, California to Sydney, Australia. I have not visited my three grandchildren for over a year. I ache to see them again.
As the plane circled to touch down, I saw Sydney with its pristine beaches. This view from the plane never failed to leave me breathless. Sydney is beautiful, majestic with multiple and vast areas of water around and inside the city.
It took about an hour to go through Immigration and to pick up my luggage. I rolled my luggage to the Pick-up Area way outside the airport where my son and three grandchildren were supposed to pick me up.
I wanted to sit, but afraid they might not see me right away. I remained standing. Before too long I heard shrieks of “Grandma” and my grandson and two granddaughters rushed to hug and embrace me. I almost cried with joy. They were like chatter boxes as they talked about what they did for Christmas and New Year. I savored the joy, the kisses and the kiss back, and a hundred hugs. Golly, I missed these kids, I thought. This alone makes the trip worth it.
Their multi-level home situated close to the water and a park was still as beautiful as I remember. My son had taken off from work for a week and the children were on summer vacation.
“I helped Mommy fix the bed for you,” seven-year-old Maya said. Then I learned their mom food shopped and picked up my favorite Lactaid milk and salad mix.
“Thanks, that’s very nice” I said, as all three started to go through my luggage and get their books and gifts with their names on them. Then we all went into the living room where they made me sit.
“Welcome to the Logarta Cafe,” they chimed.
Brendan, my ten-year-old-grandson said he’s the chef; Alyssa, my nine-year-old granddaughter, said she’s the manager; and Maya, the seven-year-old is the waitress. They presented me with a menu scribbled in colored pens that offered drinks, appetizers, entree and dessert.
Maya sat beside me as she wrote my order. Alyssa helped her spell and write it out. Brendan stood by listening to the order. My drink came and was poured in a glass on my table.
“Bloody me, it is bloody orange alright. What?” My eyes opened wide. I thought it was like when I was young and we pretended and ate fresh leaves from the nearby tree. I was asked to take a sip and so did they. I said they can have it all. Their dad yelled from the next room.
“No, you cannot have it. It’s bad for you. Throw it away.”
Then their favorite cheese and crackers sprinkled with rosemary arrived. The gooey cheese made the biscuit soft, but I tasted it anyway. Six sets of fingers reached out and ate it all.
My eyes popped as I saw the raspberries arranged well and tidy around a white plate set before me. In the middle was a small ceramic with melted dark chocolate.
“You can hook a little finger at the neck of the raspberry and dip it into the chocolate, or I can give you an appetizer fork” the chef explained. I tried it with my little finger and by golly, it’s good! The chef tried it too then asked the manager and the waitress did the same. Their little heads bobbed around my order of raspberries and chocolate. Pretty soon, the plate was empty.
“We do provide entertainment,” said manager Alyssa. We have TV news, cd music or I can play the piano, she volunteered. Alyssa has been taking weekly lessons for two years now.
“I will give you a big tip if you can sing, too,” I said. Her eyes grew big.
“I have not done this for a while” but she looked at her piano book. She found one and before too long, she had instructed her seven-year-old sister to sing with her. Watching my two granddaughters play the piano and sing together was unbelievable.
“How they’ve grown,” I thought, overwhelmed with joy. “What precious treasures. This is so fulfilling and this trip, just with this one moment, is well worth it. I got my grandma fix, right here, right now.”
“Brendan, can you play too?” I asked.
“He plays the trombone like he’s passing gas, Grandma,” shrieked the two girls. “But he wrote a song,” they added.
My grandson is a writer, wow! Another grandma fix, I thought. I remember he showed me a story he wrote about two years ago. Writing will help him out so much in life and I am immensely grateful for that.
“Who wants to go to the beach,” their father yelled,
They scampered to get ready and my grandson gave me a towel.
“I cannot let you do that. That towel is too small for Grandma,” Maya the seven-year-old said. I wondered if I should be happy or sad about what she said.
“I’ll get a bigger one”, the boy said. Guess what, I ended up with no towel at all when we arrived at the beach.
Later back home, I taught them how to play bridge and two liked it. Two out of three is not bad, I thought. They wanted to play monopoly instead. They did very well and I was the one who ran out of game money. I wanted out.
“Please don’t stop playing Grandma, Brendan can get pretty mean,” and so I played on. They also taught me to play Gin, Snap, and Scrabble.
We had days of swimming, movies, card games and eating out. It was hectic, fun and a short but sweet trip. I got my Grandma fix, until next time.