There are two things I can count on happening every time my mother-in-law comes over to babysit Emily. #1, she will suggest that I duct tape a comforter to the hearth, and #2 she will call her parents up in Rochester, put them on speaker phone and let them talk to Emily. I have been around for one or two of these phone calls, and it breaks my heart. They sing to her, they ask her questions, and they are beside themselves with joy when she makes a noise back that they can hear. They had never met her, because Grandpa Deyle had a stroke earlier this year and has been too fragile to make the trip down from Rochester. With a baby, we did not even want to consider driving 6+ hours up to Rochester, and every time we tried to coordinate a flight up there it never seemed to work out. Either Grandpa was still dealing with his ORSA, or we were not available etc. Will and I were getting desperate to introduce Emily to her great grandparents, because they are definitely not in the shape they once were, and we couldn't imagine the guilt we'd feel (on top of the sadness) if one or both of them were to die without meeting Emily.
So this weekend, my Mother-in-law chartered a plane, and we flew up to Rochester to surprise them. We rolled up to the airport at 7AM, just as it had started snowing.
Emily all buckled in and ready:
Will and his mom:
I felt fairly awful on the flight, which was an embarrassment to me because I usually pride myself on being a hale and hearty air traveler. My nausea cleared up about halfway through though, leading me to believe I was feeling sick not because of the flight but because we had risen at 5AM, crammed down breakfast and scurried around like crazy getting Emily ready. For the second half of the flight I was able to enjoy having enough air to breathe on an airplane for once, and being able to watch the altimeter in the cockpit as we descended.
After a wonderfully smooth and quick flight, we were in Rochester and despite some (inevitable) snafus with the directions, we were at the grandparents' house before we knew it.
Waiting to make our entrance:
When we walked in, Grandma looked at us, said hello very pleasantly, then went back to stirring her soup. "Someone must've spilled the beans", I thought. That wasn't the reaction we had all been expecting. A couple seconds later, she looked back up at the crowd of people in her kitchen doorway, paused a couple seconds, and then screamed "OH!" loud enough to make Emily burst into tears :-) Now that was more like it!
What I find the most amusing about that situation, is that it was obvious once we'd seen Grandma's eventual reaction that she didn't realize who we were upon first glance. To her, she had just seen a slew of strangers walk into her kitchen, and yet she still greeted us with a polite and welcoming "Hello" and went back to her business. I hope no burglars ever walk into her kitchen, she'd probably fix them tea before she realized what was going on.
We had a very enjoyable visit. It made for a long day, but Will and I agreed it was just the right amount of time. We really enjoyed seeing how happy the grandparents were just watching Emily walk around the coffee table and play with toys Will used to play with (and maybe even Nancy when she was young).
At ten after six, we piled into the rental car and headed for the Rochester airport. At twenty after eight, we pulled into our garage at home. Fantastic.
So now Emily will know who it is that's singing Mary Had a Little Lamb to her over the phone, and Will and I can feel relieved that her great grandparents have finally met her :-)