Spanning the Generations

It feels as though we are living in a time warp. Leaping three family generations in a week has dramatically influenced our daily routine and energy requirements.

Last week we hosted our two grandchildren, age 2 and almost-4 for three days while our daughter and her husband went on a long awaited trip. We were instantly reminded how busy toddlers can be, and the wisdom of having children at a young age. It's a good thing we are both very fit, as we needed all our reserves to keep up with these two whirlwinds.

Ben and Mya enthralled by the train

Even at this tender age, the kids have amazing memories. Ben eagerly awaited the reappearance of the Lionel train set that came out when they last visited in January. Unfortunately, the train proved a bit finicky and we had to do a lot do dancing and explaining while Rich spent a frustrating and hair raising day trying to get it to work. Fortunately he ultimately prevailed, and the train chugged around the track once more. Rich even replenished the liquid smoke so the engine could send up puffs of smoke. Whew!

Making our favorite chocolate chip cookies

My specialty is baking with the kids. Ben is meticulous about measuring and pouring ingredients into the bowl, and loves the whole process. Mya's favorite part is spooning out the cookies. Both like to eat the dough, particularly when I'm not looking. And we all proclaimed the finished cookies delicious.

From squabbles to hugs to the endearing things they said, they kept us on our toes. It was an action-packed three days. As usual, we were only able to squeeze in a couple of the excursions I had planned for them. Somehow just managing meals, naps, diaper changes and playtime seemed to fill the days. And it still resulted in lasting memories.

This week we are on the opposite end of the spectrum. Jumping from Minnesota and toddlers to Florida and Rich's dad has been quite a shift in focus. Recovering from a serious staph infection and lengthy hospital stay, Dad Hoeg has gradually been regaining his strength. The purpose of our visit was to help care for him at home and provide company and transportation.

Upon our arrival, we were surprised and pleased to see that Dad Hoeg has progressed to near-independence. In fact, today while we watched (with a little trepidation) he made his first solo trip, driving himself to the barber. While our care duties are light, we still continue to hang near the house. His routine governs ours. And our pace of life has slowed waaay dooowwwnn.


The little things in life have now become the highlights of our days. A trip to the grocery store becomes a social event, as all the workers greet Dad by name. Watching any activity on the quiet street out the kitchen windows is always a source of conversation. Judge Judy is not to be missed on TV at 4:00pm. And going out for dinner is a big treat, for all of us.

Our environment has changed from dodging toys strewn across the floor to making sure our beds are properly made and up to Dad's rigorous standards. Nothing is ever out of place here.

Dad's improved health does allow us to get out and enjoy the beautiful warm weather. Even just sitting out on his patio is a pleasure. We've done a lot of reading, taken walks in the warmth of the evening after dinner and enjoyed the blossoming plants in his yard.

What a difference a week makes, navigating this generation gap.


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