Recently we had a date with our twin grandchildren, three-year-old Arianna and Eli.
To save Mommy Rachel driving time to the farm, I met her in Appleton where our daughter transferred the kids' car seats into my vehicle and then we packed in the kids. I had to be shown how to buckle them in place - these modern car seats are quite different from the ones we used 30 years ago.
I took in all the details about the seats, but knew if I forgot something the kids would tell me. They love showing Grandma how smart they are.
Soon we were on our way, while Mommy Rachel occupied the rest of her day photographing other families.
As I drove toward the farm, I thought about the precious cargo I was hauling. The thought made me extra careful - years ago when we had four young ones I was too frazzled to think about this, but as a grandma I sure do.
We arrived safely back on the farm, where Grandpa Bob was waiting for us - we were a little late because we had taken a detour through Plamann Park to see their Children's Farm.
Grandpa Bob asked Arianna and Eli what they wanted to do. They had ideas to fill a week: make cookies, take toy tractors and dump trucks onto the driveway where they could dig stones, blow bubbles, chase/watch chickens, eat cookies, play with more tractors, cars, and trucks in the house, go for a ride on Grandpa's golf cart and . . . (Somewhere in there, Mommy Rachel wanted them to have a nap, or at least some quiet time in the afternoon.)
We did our best to keep everyone happy. I had food suitable for their lunch: mac and cheese, watermelon, grapes, cupcakes and some stuff their mother would never feed them, but Grandma could.
It was a beautiful day, not too hot and not too cool-great for outside play.
Grandpa Bob put some soil in a wheel barrel for playtime. Eli and Arianna could stand and work their toy machines at a perfect level for them. The top soil was great for digging.
While the kids were earth moving, Bob and I put together two balsawood gliders. As we fiddled we wondered if they make them thinner these days. Maybe our hands are too big because it was difficult not to break the thin parts.
What the kids liked best about the planes was when Grandpa flew his so high it landed on the grain bin roof and we had to wait for the wind to blow it down.
Eventually, it was time to take a ride in the golf cart. Again, safety was on our minds. Bob drove slower than when he's checking crops. Eli sat on the seat between Bob and me. Arianna sat on my lap and down the lane we went.
We had hoped to see deer along our journey, but none showed up. The best we did was to disturb two sandhill cranes from a waterhole and watch a groundhog race into the tall grass.
For a time a pesky fly took a ride on the cart hood. It reminded Eli of a bee and worried him. The array of dragon flies around us didn't concern him at all.
Arianna seemed especially interested in the water that crossed our path. "Are we going through the puddle?" she asked. Yes, we were, but not too fast.
Mostly, Grandpa could drive around them - I think both children would have loved to have splashed muddy water up as we went, but that wasn't going to happen.
When we returned to the buildings, it was time for lunch, and then to make cookies. The twins had their rest period while the batches of cookies baked.
Mostly our cats stayed away from the twins. They're smart cats. Othello finally came to check out the kids.
Eli didn't like it because he's allergic so Arianna chased the cat away. She then discovered shy Cruella hiding under our bed. Our granddaughter's high-pitched reaction sent that cat racing for her life.
Too soon it was time to wash up and go meet Mommy Rachel in Appleton again.
The best part of the whole day for me came near the end. Arianna cuddled up next to me and gave me a sad look. She wasn't ready to go home. "I want to spend more time with you, Grandma."
Now that really tugged at my heart. All children are such precious cargo.
Susan Manzke, Sunnybook Farm, N8646 Miller Rd, Seymour, WI 54165; Sunnybook@aol.com;www.susanmanzke.net;