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March 21, 2011
My little potato peelers

My little potato peelers

I left Wales and went back to the States after being away for five months. I was hungry – for a plate of sweet hugs from my daughter, Cashley;  being smothered in kisses from my two grandsons, and a bit of tartness from my parents, who can’t resist a dig every now and then about my being so far away from them. Walking from the plane at Palm Beach International Airport, I was surprised by two little munchkins and their beautiful mom as they popped out of a doorway to greet me. After a few giggles, the smothering began. I was in heaven.

Show and tell began immediately as both Jacob and Nicholas regaled me in what was new in their lives. Jacob showed off the fact that he was no longer in a car seat, but rather, a booster. He’s a big boy now at six years old! Four-year-old Nicholas showed me how he could buckle up the harness in his car seat by himself, refusing even a suggestion of help. They insisted I sit between them in the back seat. I couldn’t fit.

The chatter began and for three weeks grandma was the center of the universe for them. They donned their Welsh aprons I’d brought and we cooked. Standing on their stools in front of the kitchen sink, both became expert potato peelers. I made their favorite chicken cutlets. I roasted, basted, stirred and tried every which way to encourage them to eat food that wasn’t pizza. Sometimes I was even successful.

When I moved to Wales from the States, both my daughter and my parents were upset that I had left. They felt deserted. They were angry. The top layer of bread in the club sandwich had flown off, leaving just the filling and bottom crust. I was what kept the family together, and they were left to fend for themselves. Was it kind of me? No. Was it necessary for me? Yes. And thankfully, with this visit, the sandwich came together again, sealed with a creamy mayonnaise that glued us back to where we were before I moved.

Every night at my daughter’s house one little being or the other climbed into my bed to snuggle. I had time to read to them. We played games. I bathed and dressed them. These were things I didn’t get to do on a daily basis even when I lived ten minutes away. There’s such a difference when you are actually living in the same house. An ease sets in. An expectation. Every moment was delicious.

Jacob expected me to meet the school bus every day. When I wasn’t there, he hung his head. Nicholas expected me to walk to the 7-11 every day, holding his hand as he led me through the secret passage. Both expected me to be there for dinner, and when I wasn’t, grandma was in trouble!

The visit with my parents was eventful as well. Suffering the heat of an 80 degree house that people in their late 80’s seem to cherish even in Florida, and the mega-decibel volume of the television, I sat for five days. Lacking internet service, the local library became my office every morning. When I returned to their house, we talked. About books, television, the rotten government (my mother’s point of view), about how many cigarettes my 88 year-old father is smoking (does it make any difference at his age?). We were together and it was lovely.

After three weeks, it was time for me to head back to Wales. The big question to myself was how I would respond – to leaving my family again and how intensely the draw of Wales would affect me. I had an inkling of how my heart would react when the excitement of returning began before I even boarded the airplane in Florida. It grew as I came closer to the UK. Even the dreaded National Express bus from Heathrow to Newport didn’t dampen my enthusiasm. And when Paul met me in Newport, I was thankful to be smothered once again in love. And then, we were off. Off to my home — in the Heavenly Usk Valley.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. David DePhillips permalink
    March 21, 2011 2:04 pm

    what a wonderful account of your family visit. I felt like we were along for the visit. You have a way with words young lady. Now fill us in about the other part of the baloney sandwich (Paul). thanks again looking for more of your ventures.

  2. Julie permalink
    March 21, 2011 2:46 pm

    Welcome home!

  3. ian mcauliffe permalink
    March 28, 2011 8:38 pm

    Always been an admirer of your writing, having been there(USA, Florida) and now back again(Hometown Cardiff)…..its very nice to see you writing in the real English and now can almost hear a little Welsh lilt coming into play as well. Look forward to your next instalment.

  4. Sal Davis permalink
    April 3, 2011 3:38 pm

    Welcome home. And just in time for the weather to improve [please!]

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