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Monday Morning Melancholy

October 18, 2019

Another Way for week of October 18, 2019

Monday Morning Melancholy

Order has mostly been restored in the toy corner.

The toys, books, and dirty dishes have been mostly cleaned up and put away after a 24-hour whirlwind visit of three grandchildren and their parents. All five of our grandchildren (in two families) live two to seven hours away. But signs of the brief visit of one family linger over into Monday.

Ever since we enthusiastically entered the grandparent years just six years ago, we alternately savor and go through “the morning after” melancholy that breathes in each room. Everywhere there are remnants of a too-brief but always-welcome stay.

Remnants of diaper changes remain.


The too-short pants that filled in for the three year old.

We strip beds, pick up the remaining odd plastic egg or baseball glove, and I spy the Cookie Monster overalls hanging in the guest bathroom. The story there was that three-year-old Henry got a mess of spaghetti on his blue jeans at supper. Since it was just a 24-hour pop-in, they didn’t bring a lot of extra clothes. The house was newly chilly with the first real days of fall, so I pulled out a pair of overalls I keep on hand just in case. The pants were about six inches too short for the lean and lanky almost-four-year-old, but he LOVES Cookie Monster so he happily padded around the rest of the evening in those pants.

Velvet seemed happy to reclaim her bed.

Grandma won’t mind if I empty the wastebaskets for her, will she?

The next morning, I loved watching the just-turned-one-year-old scoot from room to room doing a great army crawl, mostly on hardwood floors. In our bedroom as his parents got ready for my daughter’s 20th class reunion picnic lunch, he gleefully flopped himself into the dog’s cushy bed, much to my chagrin. I painstakingly ran the lint-picker-upper over his outfit. Now on Monday morning, the dog has rightly reclaimed her dog bed.

How can my oldest daughter have graduated 20 years ago already? It’s a question I pondered frequently that weekend. We marveled that some of her classmates had children who were already college-age, and here they are still chasing children in spaghetti-clad overalls and doggie-haired rompers.

On Saturday night, we wrangled the boys through dinner, baths, and bedtime. The evening was not without frustration and lost tempers—including my own. We raised three girls. Our girls had their own trials and temper tantrums I suppose but those memories are now foggy of mostly mild misbehaving. I apologized to the little one who triggered me losing my cool—who soon had his pajamas on thanks to an older brother’s help.

In my own defense, granny was exhausted too: it was also our Lions Club pancake weekend. My husband and I together worked a total of 34 hours over four days: getting things ready and then making and serving the sausage, pancakes, and gravy to hundreds of good folks. Pancake days always come homecoming weekend for our high school—the pancake sale being a tradition the locals look forward to. It was always hectic when our kids were in marching band too, and those weekends we also squeezed in watching their parade and halftime show, rushing away from Lion clean up duties. Now we dutifully try to take our turn making sure we don’t leave the pancake sale until the last pan is cleaned and the cooking tent is stored for another year. Yes, bone tired, and for me, a hangover headache the next morning. Not from alcohol but just too much going on.

The mitts and plastic bat are right where some little boys left them.

Our favorite place as we wait for Mommy and Daddy to finish packing.

But by the time my daughter and husband are packing to leave around 1 p.m. on Sunday, hubby and I spend 15 or so minutes minding the grandchildren as they swing with us (go high Grandma!!) on the beloved porch swing, or race each other on the lengthy porch. Our little crawler cuddles safely on our laps. Henry launches slowly into a poetic description of the sights he is seeing as we swing on this windy day: “The trees are moving, the leaves are falling, the flowers are waving, the flag is blowing.” I compliment him that it sounds like a poem and he says, “What’s a poem?” Older brother and I try to explain it and I wish for a pencil to capture his words. Later I try to reconstruct it for his mamma and I think I’ve got more or less what he said—at least the spirit of his surprisingly poetic construction.

Ah yes, a budding writer, maybe. Or a ball player. Or just an ordinary boy whose words tug around my heart and make me wish for more golden October days and hours with all five of our grandsons—even when they act ornery or contrary or are just too tired to get their pajamas on.

Waiting for the Easter bunny? The one-year-old somehow loved these little eggs in his hands and wouldn’t let go.

What marvelous and beautiful gifts these little boys are! We are so thankful. We love them all.


Sweet and tender, or tired times: share your ups and downs here!


When did your children or grandchildren surprise you with something they knew or did or loved?

I’d love to hear any sweet or fun stories from your children or grandchildren, with permission to quote them in a future column. As always, you can comment here or send to me at


Another Way is a column by Melodie Davis, in syndication since 1987. She is the author of nine books. Another Way columns are posted at a week after newspaper publication.  

  1. I love and identify with this. We sometimes walk around scattered toys for several days after such sweet visits, too tired to deal with them but also wanting to leave the memories in place. I’m amazed at how intense even a 24-hour visit can be.

  2. Toys are long gone for my tweens and teens. Now they track in grass clippings after helping their grandpa with the lawn. All good!

  3. What a fun whirlwind weekend! But yes, I’ll bet you’re exhausted. I have to travel to go see my grandbabies – to Arizona. The visits are never often enough, and always much to short, but oh my goodness, does Grandma come home tired!
    Thanks for sharing your slice of life with us. I always enjoy those, feeling like I’m getting to know someone across the miles in between us.

    • Oh wow, Arizona is a long way. Yes, I am enjoying meeting so many people and learning from their lives even if we may never meet in person. I’m glad you enjoyed the reflective piece–we all have a lot in common.

  4. I too wander through the house after a visit from one or both of our children’s families, Melodie. But we have only three grandchildren and they are quite spread out in age from 8.5 to 2.5. Two of them are girls. I can only imagine the energy it takes to corral five active boys! Hats off to granny and gramps for a job well done!

  5. We also got to take care of them the following Monday night (a week ago) at their home in the D.C. area while mommy and daddy went to a playoff game. It went much better–grandma didn’t lose her cool and the older boys sat on grandpa’s lap doing stickers and reading the complete time I was bathing the one year old and getting him to bed. I definitely have new appreciation for the dinner-baths-bed routine my daughter and son-in-law go through every evening. Big sigh!

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