I love the feeling of anticipation when people I love are coming to stay.
I love thinking about what I can do to prepare
for my visitors. What will they like to eat? What shall we do? Where shall we go? Mostly I know that, when the visitors are the Youngest of the Darling Daughters and her tribe of two, we will get by just famously by simply going with the flow. Going
with the flow is, in many ways, what we do best.
Things change as the grandchildren grow up. When they were littl’uns we had to remember to buy blue
top milk; now green top is the order of the day. It used to be that the park was the Destination of Choice; now it’s the bowling alley or the go-kart track – or, even, shopping. We used to sing along to nursery rhymes when travelling
in the car – now for my stage-struck grandkids, it’s Songs from the Musicals. Once I had to make sure I had plenty of bath toys for the Evening Ablutions; now the main requirement is for a plentiful supply of shampoo and conditioner
in the shower to keep the grand-daughter’s locks in their customary lustrous state.
I have made an apple pie, because I know they love my apple pie. We will
be eating beans on toast for lunch before we head off into town for the six-monthly visit to the dentist. This will be followed, as is tradition, by a trip to Costa Coffee. For dinner it will be sausage casserole and the aforementioned apple pie. Custard
or cream? We bought both, just to be on the safe side.
I have cleared all the junk off the spare beds and, for my daughter’s bed, have fashioned a
swan out of a white towel (as taught me by the room maids at our hotel in Cyprus last year.) I expect you think that is a trifle pretentious but if I don’t keep practising I will forget how to do it and that would be another Life Skill Lost.
And, yes, the penguin will still be dressed up and put out on the doorstep to welcome my visitors.
In the words of my favourite Christmas poem: “Everything changes – but we always do that.”