You knew it would happen.

I did too.

Golden moments do not last forever.

One week to the day the parents come home to retrieve those four grandchildren of mine. Some of you know exactly how it is to let them go. I know how it will be, yet I am always a bit heart-broken to give them up. For one week we build our own little world here on West Street. We have patterns and routines. (Yes, eating chocolate pudding on the stoop at midnight is a routine!)

At night when they all are sleeping under the care of their great-grandmother’s quilts, I walk through this old house tucking them in and saying a prayer to the universe for their safety. Last to tuck in is Noah as he sleeps in my room on a blow-up mattress at the foot of my bed. Noah is always sprawled out, and I nudge him back onto his bed.

The mornings come early with babies tugging on me to get up. I truly am joyous over the tugging. I know sleep will come later. The days are filled with stories, music, art, and much laughing and dancing.

But the parents come home. They pack up the clothes, the toys, the children and load the car. Hugs and kisses all around. Faith insists I get in the car.

“Come on, Nannie, get in, come on.”

One more round of kisses through the windows and they back out. I stand in the middle of the driveway and wave, but I can’t see them through my tears. I go back in through the garden gate, and go on in to the house and lock the doors. It is time to regroup, maybe debrief a little. I need space and a place to put all the stories so I let my mind go quiet. My house is quiet too. It is so quiet it is deafening. The echo of their voices fill every room, as do the remnants of their visit.

I can’t be remorseful forever. I let the stories find a home in my mind, and then I get to work surveying what needs to be done. With notebook in hand, I assess each room. The list grows long and I put in a call to Kathy for help!! Between the two of us we wash and scrub and organize and put the house back together. We laugh as we find little trucks or Lego pieces and other treasures in strange places.

And just like that my life is organized and back to where it was before. Before. But now is happening so I move on with a call from Aaron. We arrange a time to drive together to Pokagon for the Philharmonic with Jonah and his buddies. I don’t think they even notice I got into the truck, but I am just happy to be with them.

The Philharmonic is warming up as we take our place within the crowd. The kids toss down their shoes and cell phones and head to the lake. I watch from a distance as they swim and play…just like my own sons did once upon a time.

As we wait for the music to begin I stand and look around at the crowd. All of a sudden I feel this immense feeling of pride for my community. So many folks I know, and I watch families picnic and laugh. The music begins and swells over the water, over the trees, over all of us. It is majestic and magical, and I think there is nowhere else I would rather be. This moment. Here.

It is deep dusk when we head back to the truck with the chatty kids. They had a great time swimming and roaming around the park while listening to the music. I arrive home and put on a few lamps and the kettle. It is a good time for tea and to sit on the porch.

This Fourth of July week is so full of plans. Thanks to Karen Shelton the Americana is alive and well at the Furth Center on Wednesday evening at 7! Come early to get a good seat. Lots of surprises in store for you! Thursday is the parade and the fireworks. The years I traveled I missed all of this so I am happy to be home.

I listen to the sounds of the darkness. The summer night sounds keep me company, and all is well on West Street.

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