We've been held captive at home this winter. Our jailer? Winter weather.
Last weekend it was cold, but clear, so we made our great escape. Our destination was Sun Prairie where our daughter, Rachel, lives with her husband, Dave, and their three growing children.
It had been tricky to find the perfect day. Sickness in both houses had disappeared for the time being . . . hopefully for the rest of the winter. The sun was shining, and we were on the move. It was going to be a day for grandparents, as Dave's mom and dad were driving up from Illinois to visit as well.
During our two-hour drive, Bob scanned the countryside. He noted that as we went south, he could actually see bits of field peeking out of the snow, unlike our area, where the snow cover was still too thick to show soil or old-growth grass.
Our four-year-old twin grandchildren, Arianna and Eli, met us at the door with a question: "Grandma, can we play hide and seek?" We hadn't even removed our coats, and they were ready to play. But their mom had other ideas.
Rachel had her camera ready. "Before we forget, and before some people get tired and crabby (she was referring to her children, not her parents — at least I think she was), we're taking photos. Grandma will play hide-and-seek after." That last bit was bribery.
The twins tire of having their pictures taken all the time. Rachel often uses them to try out new camera settings, since they are handy and cute. When any camera is turned toward them, they can click off their happy mood and change to a pout in seconds, but not this day.
We were directed to sit on the couch. Baby Wyatt was handed to Bob. Arianna and Eli were to come on either side of us and drape themselves around their grandparents. It was fun, especially when Rachel told us to "squish in tighter." One more direction, "Don't strangle Grandpa," was given to Arianna.
Baby Wyatt (11 weeks old) was encouraged to smile and look at Mommy. He's a good baby, but getting him to smile at just the right time is a trick. Rachel and Dave made funny sounds to get him looking the right way. Of course, when he was ready, the rest of us weren't. "Mom, look at the camera."
For the last shot we were told to look at each other and laugh. That was the easiest to do as we were already having fun.
With our photo shoot over, the twins were dragging me away for our hide-and-seek game. "Count to 21, Grandma," I was told, and off they went.
The last time we played hide-and-seek, Arianna and Eli were easy to find. That time they giggled together in the corner by the couch. I had to work not to find them. Now, their tactics for hiding were much better.
I had heard footsteps heading upstairs when I started counting, so that's where I started looking. I went through two bedrooms and a couple closets before finding Arianna. My heart skipped a beat when she jumped out as I moved the shower curtain.
Eli was harder to find. Actually, I whispered a plea for Bob's help: "Did you see which way he went?" Bob pointed toward another room, but I didn't find Eli right away, even though I heard him giggling. "I give up. You win!" Eli came out of the closet, so happy that he fooled Grandma.
Next, I had to hide. Arianna took me to Wyatt's closet. She even closed the door, so we stood in the dark together, but it didn't take Eli long to find us.
I talked them into changing our game to coloring. "You can make me pictures to take home so we can hang them on our refrigerator," I said. Of course I had to color, too.
About the time we finished coloring, their other set of grandparents arrived. It was time for more photos.
Two sets of grandparents meant Rachel and Dave could run away – for a little while anyway. They went out to lunch and did some errands while they had the chance. Of course, we grandparents didn't object at all.
When Bob and I got home that evening, we were exhausted. Still, it was a Great Escape, and we can't wait for another one to take place. Maybe next time it will be with grandsons, Ethan and Seth. No matter, it will be a fun day.
Susan Manzke, Sunnybook Farm, N8646 Miller Rd, Seymour, WI 54165; Sunnybook@aol.com;www.susanmanzke.net; http://www.facebook.com/susan.manzke.