It was a quick jaunt to Colorado while Brian and Amy slipped away for some hardcore bicycle racing interspersed with important business/social connections. Brian was riding the annual ‘Ride the Rockies’ biking event high in the Colorado Rockies. Amy was acting as his sag wagon, local transportation for Brian and two cohorts and social director for business events each evening. Sharon and I were in town to cover home base.
So, a new sheriff came to town and the grandkids couldn’t have been more thrilled. It was seven days of non-stop activities that left Nana and Papa totally exhausted and the kiddos exhilarated. A small price to pay for building quality memories with tons of experiences, events and silliness thrown in for good measure.
There were a few notable exceptions this time around. We wouldn’t in the mountains to watch the kids tearing down their favorite Black Diamond. We didn’t have a triathlon to cheer on our grandchildren like we did last year. Sadly, I didn’t have time to visit one of my favorite old hippie haunts, Boulder, Colorado. But we did find time for swim meets, starfish petting, artistic expressions, golf lessons, library stalking, stingray feeding and bourgeois-slumming. Oh, and not to leave out the most sacred of all rituals, hunting down garage sales as only Nana can orchestra it.
The first event on the first day was a huge swim meet that witnessed a gathering of all the aquatic tribes. Tent city had taken over the valuable real estate pool side but luckily we found shelter in our own neighborhood social center.
The kids clustered around books and devices. Visiting urchins came and went and no one seemed to notice. The adults watched the schedule of events while Sharon and I looked for guidance on getting our three competitors to the right lane at the right time.
Our reward for a morning of free style, breast strokes, and relays along with a half dozen ribbons was the kid’s favorite restaurant, Snooze.
It’s an annual tradition reserved only for Nana visits. We take the kids hunting for ‘mysteries’ and ‘surprises’ that only garage sales can provide. The pickings were slim this time around but that didn’t prevent us from finding a real treasure for Palm Springs.
There must be some friends in Palm Springs who would love this staged portrait. For only five dollars it was a steal and we’re determined to find a way to get it back home.
Ever encouraging our kids to read, we had to visit the newest library in town then begin the first of several art lessons.
Nana had the kids enthralled with the effects of alcohol ink. Just as Brennen and Charlotte had quickly grasped that creative process back home so too had the Colorado kids. Collectively all five grandchildren have now spread their creative wings and created some fascinating works of art. Pastel drawings were next on the list of paintings to explore.
After mass on Sunday, it was off to the Denver Aquarium and Maya’s favorite activity of petting the stingrays and Samantha’s goal of sketching the fish. Spencer just wanted to climb through every portal around.
Long before the advent of mass transportation and middle class solidarity there was an era of elegant travel and social dining reserved for the very few. Denver was no exception. ‘High Tea’ at the Brown Palace was one such event.
One of the oldest hotels in town, The Brown Palace, now offers high tea every afternoon. Amy thought it would be nice to introduce the kids to the event. While none of us is a fan of tea, I discovered several flavors to my liking and the kids loved the tiny sandwiches and pastries. What can I say, it was an experience and it didn’t hurt to introduce our grandchildren to elegant surroundings and a lesson in practicing their social graces.
The rest of our visit was a blur of swim practice every morning, golf lessons, piano lessons, Lacrosse practice and more painting lessons from Nana.
Yet we still found time for everyone to escape with their respective favorite book and just chill out. They had three boxes of books to choose from, all pre-shipped by Nana.
We set up an art gallery for the parents to see and a summary of the kid’s favorite events.
Brian had a great ride with colleagues from work, averaging fifty to seventy miles of challenging elevation each day. Amy charmed all the right people. The grandchildren had an exciting time with Nana and Papa and I only needed a couple of days to recover before planning the next sortie out west this September.
The days were non-stop as were the grandchildren. There’s a reason why only young people should have kids. It was exhausting and exhilarating at the same time. Our goal has always been to give the kiddos lots of experiences, time with their grandparents and a little advice thrown in when each grandchild gets to go on our traditional ‘Starbucks with Papa’ one per morning.
Realistically there is only a limited time available before they ‘grow up’ and move on with their lives. It’s a limited time capsule Sharon and I have tried to embrace and embellish and hold dear to our hearts.
Where else can a couple of oldsters teach and learn at the same time. We are truly blessed.