Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Love at a Distance

24 April 2012

In February, Katie went back to work parttime and left Noah with a nanny. The nanny was nice enough but lacked experience and the kids were having second thoughts. So, they asked me to come visit earlier than planned so I could be an interim nanny. It's not every day a mother/mother-in-law is actually asked to come for an extended period and I of course hopped onto the first available plane.

The bad news was that I would miss half of my intensive German classes.  After a rocky start with a horrible teacher, we had a young and enthusiastic teacher who made learning fun and a class full of dedicated learners.

The good news is that I would miss half of my intensive German classes. Out of ten dedicated learners, one of our number came across as a total ditz who arrived late for class, never did any homework, talked throughout the entire class and then would constantly interrupt the class to ask, "Whaaaaast? What is this?" about something we had discussed five minutes earlier. If I had stayed, I would have had to kill her.

And so I was in Florida from February 20th through April 12th and Greg joined us for a too short 12 days in March.

I got to share Noah with Heath and Katie and hug Noah and watch him grow right before my very eyes.

I got to share some milestones like learning to feed himself and sitting up on his own.

I was fortunate enough to be there for his first month birthday last October ...

and for his sixth month birthday in March.

I won't be there for his seventh month birthday this week and I wasn't there last week for the first time he creeped across the floor - a whole foot - towards his dog. There will be many milestones I'll miss.

My mother, who was a wonderful grandmother to Katie, is also missing many of Noah's milestones. Katie and Noah and I flew up to see her in her nursing home in Ontario from April 5th - 9th. The double whammy of dementia and stroke has left Mom with limited speech and almost no control of her body. But she held on to Noah so tightly, she left a red mark on his chubby little arm.

Noah was a huge hit with all the little old ladies in the nursing home and I was so proud of Katie, who took the time to share him. Here is a picture of Noah with my Aunt Liz, my Uncle Lloyd's widow.
While we were in Canada, we had lunch with Anne Zomer, a high school friend I met again after all these years on Facebook. We posed with books we've written.

And in Florida, a group of old pals from our Ponte Vedra-Palm Valley teaching days got together at Pusser's.

All too soon, it was time to pose for a few last pictures with Noah and Katie

Okay, so maybe I overstayed my welcome just a tiny bit.

and get ready to leave Noah behind (although I did try to fit him into my carry on bag).

I missed Greg and our life in Zurich.

I wish there were some way we could live half an hour from the kids - close enough to be there if they need us and to visit once a week but not so close that homicide becomes a viable option. But in today's world, you know the kids will move several times in pursuit of careers and Greg and I are ready to settle down with a house and garden and pets. Maybe on Orcas Island. Maybe in Switzerland. Maybe somewhere else.

In the meantime, we treasure moments together not only with Noah but also with Katie and Heath.

It's love at a distance.