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When our son, Russell, and his wife asked me to babysit their 18-month-old son, our grandson, I jumped at the opportunity. The only possible hang-up would be nasty winter weather. Since Bob volunteered to stay home, I asked daughter Rebecca to come and drive and support me in every way possible.

When the day arrived, we had the coldest weather of the winter. Originally, the idea was to meet Rebecca in Appleton, where Bob would drop me off and return home.

The evening before, our daughter called and said she'd pick me up at home — an extra half hour of driving for her. 'I don't want to make Dad go out in the cold.' I was happy. It was for Bob's sake, but I benefited by having a warm car pick me up.

The day was cold, yet beautiful — too bad the forecast for our trip home was for snow. I'm a terrible passenger on slippery roads. No one wants to drive with me, and I don't blame them.

Russell and Cynthia gave us the rundown for care of their son when we arrived. They went over his schedule and his eating habits and left a printout on the fridge in case we needed reminders. Soon they were off, and we were left with our sweet boy.

I was afraid he would cry when his mommy and daddy left, but he didn't. He happily waved to them out the window as they drove away.

Though our grandson isn't talking much yet, he was great at communicating his wants and needs, bringing me books to read to him.

Music was also part of our visit. We were told our toddler loved a kid sing-along and would do the hand movements to his favorite songs.

Rebecca cued up the first song, 'The Wheels on the Bus.' He loved it and smiled and danced. He never did any of the hand motions. Instead, he preferred watching his crazy grandmother and crazy aunt do the motions.

Once, our cutie put his thumb and forefinger together to signify doing another song. Can you guess what he wanted? We did the 'Itsy Bitsy Spider' three or more times.

Our afternoon included a visit from other family members. Rachel and Dave came over with their three and all the cousins played together. By supper time, the little ones were worn out, as was this grandma, but we were also happy.

Night went well, as did breakfast. No crying fits missing Mommy and Daddy. I was amazed how well he took to auntie and grandma. We will do this again, I'm sure.

We didn't visit long after Russell and Cynthia returned. Snow had started falling. Rebecca wanted to get going, hoping to miss slippery roads.

Driving toward Seymour was perfect. In about a half hour, we reached the end of the bad weather. The sun actually popped out. I called Bob and told him to meet us in Appleton, making Rebecca's drive shorter.

We arrived at the meeting place, but Bob wasn't there. He was late and later blamed the dog. It seemed that Sunny wouldn't go into the house after he had been in his yard. He wanted to stay outside and survey his kingdom. Eventually he returned, but his stubbornness made Bob late.

As I walked toward our car, Rebecca drove off. She never knew her father had fumbled with the automatic car lock. I couldn't open the passenger door. It was locked. Bob was standing outside, too, and closed the driver's door. It locked. The car was running, and we couldn't get in.

I was ready to ask for help inside the gas station when I tried the rear hatch. It opened. We still can't figure out how half the doors were locked and not the rest, but we were relieved we hadn't called for help only to have the locksmith walk to the car and open an unlocked door.

It was a wonderful weekend. I came home happily tired and grateful for Rebecca's company and driving. It's too bad we don't live closer to our grandchildren, but at least they aren't in Australia. Now that would be a long drive.

Susan Manzke, Sunnybook Farm, N8646 Miller Rd, Seymour, WI 54165; Sunnybook@aol.com; www.SusanManzke.net

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