You know, despite the roller coaster of emotions, we had a really great time when we were down visiting family. We managed to pack in quite a bit into such a small amount of time. One of my favourite days started out a little by accident.
Ian was invited to his cousins’ home for a sleepover on a Friday night. We packed his little bag and took him the 30 minutes to their home. They had moved to the same city we left about 2-3 weeks before moving to Montana, so it was nice to see the place again and see how much more it had grown and expanded. Crazy to think it could have grown any more than it already had, we were there for three years and saw an amazing amount of development in that short time. The clincher for me was I was a few minutes from all of my favourite stores and restaurants. And then suddenly, I wasn’t.
It’s amazing how when you’re not around a place for a while and don’t have access to certain things, the first thing you go for is food. I miss decent Mexican food, locals here will tell you it’s relatively easy to find, but when you know what it should taste like, there’s no contest. The only thing I regret not getting when I was there was a beloved cherry-limeade from Sonic.
Anyway, moving right along.
The next morning, we drove up to collect Ian and start our big plans for the day. We knew it would be our last time in our old city, so we drove through our neighbourhood again a few blocks over. We stopped at a corner leading on to our street and I glanced over, seeing an old friend’s home. We had become quite close about 2 years before we moved. I remember talking with her a long time ago with a friend when she was looking for a new child minder for her son. She was working part-time and loved her position. I didn’t really have to think about it and blurted out, “I’ll do it — that is, if you’re comfortable with it — I totally don’t mind, it would be great company for Ian.” She had a look on her face like she would be putting me out, so I reassured her, “if you can’t find anyone else, I would love to mind him for you. Talk to [your husband] and let me know what you think.” In my eyes it was a perfect scenario, Ian would have an instant friend three times a week and she’d have the peace of mind she needed. Ian and her son were both around 18 months at the time.
I grew to love that little boy like he was my own. I tended him about 15 hours a week for a year and never once tired of it. It was easy to have him around, they entertained each other, all I had to do was steer them in the right direction and structure their afternoons together. The great thing was they’d both nap at the same time, so it worked out really well. He had a great little personality and they learned things from each other. Ian taught him to shimmy down stairs on his belly (they have a Rambler), and he showed Ian how to clean off a plate of food. The day I had to say goodbye to both of them was heart-wrenching. I knew I would miss both of them immensely. I had grown so close to him and enjoyed his sweet little spirit.
As I looked at her door, I knew I had to do it. We pulled into the driveway and Ian went with me to the front door. Her husband answered the door, he told me his wife was shopping but would be back soon. As he called her on her cell phone, he ushered us inside and we sat for a few minutes chatting and catching up. As she rounded the corner into her front room, I can still see her smiling face, grinning from ear to ear when she saw us all. It makes me think of the quote by Emily Bronte:
Long years apart can make no breach a second cannot fill.
And how true that is! I missed them all so much, they were a huge part of our lives. I hugged him so tightly. I also spent some time holding their sweet new baby.
What a great day! But it was no where near over. After we said our goodbyes (the boys were devastated), we drove to the new train station near Bryan’s Mum’s place and rode the train to downtown Salt Lake. Then rode what I call the ‘train-bus’, stopping just around the corner from the open-air Mall and went to see Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa.
We had a great time and they boys loved the new train system, it reminded Ian (and us) of being back in Scotland a lot. I slipped into bed that night thoroughly satisfied and brimming with smiles. We had an excellent, packed day. I know it’s days like these that are little memory builders for the boys and I look forward to many, many more.