They joined us, along with a couple of the grandchildren who were still at our house from the day before which included a sleepover, movies, walks, eating, a tea party, games, reading, laughing, going to church, and a trip to the park to play on the swing set, in the water park, watch a baseball game at a park, and then watch football on the TV with grandpa.
As I went through the living room to pick up whatever was still left around the house, I noticed Tiger sitting on the couch looking sad and all alone and so far away from his usual resting spot upstairs in the Hockey Room until the next visit from grandchildren.
Tiger, for some reason, had been the chosen stuffed animal of this sleepover adventure at grandpa and grandma’s house. For some reason he was the one chosen out of a thousand other stuffed animals in the house (ok, perhaps I have exaggerated the amount we have) to accompany my granddaughter almost everywhere that she went during her twenty eight hour visit.
He was the one stuffed animal that was the object of a hide-and-seek game where he was the one hiding that others had to find.
He was the one that sat patiently as meals were eaten and teeth were brushed but then was quickly held by my almost six-year old granddaughter.
When I saw him sitting on the couch all alone I felt the suddenness of an almost empty house occupied by only Cathy and me. Yes, we have people over during the week for gatherings such as our weekly Bible Study. But, this was one of the times when it felt like; “How long until the next time our home is filled with a gathering?”
I thought of the times when we were the parents driving our children home from a gathering or overnight at the grandparents. My heart was full then as I would be filled with gratefulness for the time we had of eating and laughter and enjoying conversations with all three generations; four when our children were young and Cathy’s grandmothers were still alive. And yet still a bit melancholy as I wondered when next we would gather again as a family.