By Bruce Stambaugh
Every time I see my three grandchildren, I marvel at how much they have grown. I used to think that a lot when they lived in Texas, and we only saw them three or four times a year.
Each time we visited, whether the venue was here or there, our Texan born grandchildren showed obvious changes. One would expect that given the infrequent gatherings.
But now that they live in Virginia’s lovely Shenandoah Valley, I seem to find myself saying that to them and about them each time we see them. And compared to Texas, that’s been a lot more frequent.
Since they moved from Pflugerville to Harrisonburg in mid-June, we have been together with Evan, Davis and Maren several times already. They have been in Ohio twice, and we have driven the 350 miles southeast four times.
The visits included a couple of celebrations since two of those trips marked birthdays. In July, we finally got to party with Davis on his fourth birthday. The Texas heat always discouraged us from mid-July visits, other than when he was born of course. We wouldn’t have missed that no matter how hot it got.
On our most recent trip, we celebrated Maren’s first birthday with a host of family and friends. It was quite the party. They may be living in Virginia, but their Texas roots run deep. Maren’s daddy couldn’t forget the good things about Texas. He bought a smoker and we had ourselves some swell tasting Texas brisket with homemade barbecue sauce.
Joining in on Evan’s special day was never a problem. Flying to Texas in mid-April, when the gorgeous blue bonnets were often in full bloom, was always a pleasure.
Now all of that has changed. Evan is enjoying first grade and is growing like a weed. He is athletic, inquisitive, assertive, and definitely knows he is the oldest of the three. In other words, he is a typical six-year old.
Davis enjoys his pre-school three days a week. On our last visit, his bouncy, blonde curls had been trimmed back to manageable standards. That didn’t seem to deter getting the attention of the girls at his soccer match.
A true lefty, no lines can confine his creativity. That included drawing with red permanent marker on the new tan bedroom rug. He can be a bit moody like his Nana. Nevertheless, it is a joy to be the brunt of his silly jokes. Playing along is all a part of being a grandparent.
My favorite moment with the boys came when they spent time with us here in early August. Nana and I took them to an Indians game, where Slider, the Tribe’s fuzzy mascot, jumped the boys, much to their delight.
Maren is the happiest baby I have even seen, unless of course she wants her mommy and her mommy is unavailable. Modeling might be in her future. She already poses for the camera.
By definition, Maren is really a toddler now that she has passed her first birthday. Close to walking, Maren stands by herself and never tires of pushing around the toy cart Nana bought her.
With those sparkling baby blue eyes, that constant smile and gregarious demeanor, Maren is already a knock out. At the rate she is growing up, I may be called into Virginia guard duty sooner than I think.