Our oldest, Anna, wanted to come visit with her two young daughters, reserved two nights at a campsite on the Oregon coast and invited anyone available to come. She drove two days to bring her daughters, 2.5 year old Bridget and 5 year old Josie, out to Oregon. They arrived at our house for a day and then the five of us, Karen and I with the three of them, drove three hours to the south-coast campsite.
There we experienced two nights playing hide ‘n seek in the meadow beside the tent site, sitting around the campfire, taking hikes, walking on the beach and jumping in the water and shivering, standing in the strong wind.
Two more daughters, Grace and Gabri, came with friends, so we ended up with this great group with whom to share and play.
The meadow beside our tent site had that magical quality reminiscent of Narnia or the Shire. Deer visited in the morning and we were certain fairies came out dancing with fauns at night while we slept. Covered with springy moss, it was a beautiful setting.
Playing hide ‘n seek with five-year-old Josie and 2.5 year-old Bridget was simply delightful. If you haven’t yet played hide ‘n seek with such companions, you’ve not really ever played!
It was that good.
Hearing the littlest pumpkin counting loudly “ONE, FIVE, ELEVEN, TWO,…” ending with a triumphant “WWEADY OR NOT HEEEERE I COME!” …was nothing less than heaven.
The vast trees made for perfect hiding places for anyone large or small. Bridget named every place we hid “our den” and when hiding would call out to help the seeker if she or he took too long.
When she was seeking us, the best words to hear were these: “I found you, Grampy!”
One day we took a hike to the local lighthouse. Three miles up and down along the coastal trail through wooded glens, up steep paths, over roots and rock steps which Josie counted was a huge feat for us let alone for the children’s little legs.
At one point Bridget was on Gabri’s shoulders slumped over her right shoulder. Gabri thought how such a position would hurt her own back, so asked, “Does that position hurt your back?”
“Uh huh,” came the response, although she hadn’t complained a bit.
“Oh honey, we can change it! How if we adjusted you like this?” Gabri asked as she slung Bridget around in front of her. “Is that better?”
“My back is better,” she said. “Good,” said Gabri.
“My legs hurt now,” Bridget added a few minutes later.
They tried a few different positions and found one which worked.
Once we reached the lighthouse,
over two hours later, ready for snacks and a break,
Gabri offered to run back and bring a car to us for the ride back. While we sat eating, drinking water, playing with the rocks on the path and looking at the beauty around us, Gabri ran back three miles over that wild trail and brought a car to us within 54 minutes. We were all impressed.
After dressing in five layers to be on the beach, we arrived home to 90 degree temperatures. Bridget and Josie settled right into coloring and playing.
Saturday, getting Bridget up from her nap, I had her stop in the bathroom before going to play. I pulled down her shorts and found a pull-up with underwear pulled up over it. “What’s this, hun?” I asked, with a chuckle.
I pulled down the undies and pull-up and laughed when I found another pair of shorts beneath it. And below that another pull-up and two more pairs of underwear. She had in all two pull-ups, two pairs of shorts and three pairs of underwear on! Bridget loves outfits and changing them and, clearly, wearing them all at the same time! She also had three t-shirts on the top. “Which one of these outfits would you like to wear?” I asked, laughing. “It’s much too hot for all of them.” She knew exactly: “Sissie’s panties, and the peacock shorts and shirt.”
“Okay, then!” I said, delighted.
The week was too short and over quickly. As I waved goodbye as they drove away early Sunday morning tears ran down my cheeks. I went in and found the doll and teddy bears Bridget had faithfully “put to bed” time and again.
Karen and I have left these as sweet reminders of such a gift of the time with these brilliant, confident, lovely girls and family.
The memory of their visit, the countless “knock, knock” jokes, the books we read, the tantrums they threw, all of it fills me with such thanksgiving. It was a week of large blessings found in such small packages.