When you live on the other side of the world, all you've got are your parents and siblings. Your friends make up your extended family, and you see them on such a regular basis that your grandparents seem, at first, like strangers your routinely see once a year. That is, until you see what grandparents really are. Once you grow up and know how much they hurt not seeing you. Seeing you grow up in photographs. Hearing of your accomplishments over the phone. With today's internet age, that is beginning to change: but Skype just isn't the same as being there.
As a kid, a grandparent's visit was second christmas: they would come bearing gifts, presents that would otherwise have been handed to you every one and a while if you had lived down the street from them, all given at once. It was mayhem. it was marvelous. Birthdays meant gifts for both kids, because it was cheeper to ship everything at once.
A visit to them was a momentous occasion. They would truck you around to all your extended family (great aunts, second cousins, all included) and show you off. "These are my grandkids from France!" Was said every few minutes. "Speak French for the man"as well (less liked). And that's when shopping would happen: enough clothes to last an entire year. I never had to go shopping, other than with them.
So as I grew, my relationship changed: and I realized that they were not giftgivers. they were not Santa. They were family, and it hurt them to be away from us. And it began to really hurt me.
My relationship matured. It pushes me to try to be the perfect grandkid, to make them proud, to try and spend all the time I can with them, however I can.
What a blessing to now live two hours from their doorstep.
My grands came down to pick me up and brought me back to the family farm, just for a 24 hour stay. It was wonderful. I just love to see them. We talked about graduation (and how there are no ceremonies in France) and about my trip to Monaco (they were impressed nine of us lived in a flat together for a week without any catastrophes). She fed me and would not take no for an answer; He told me stories of aliens and secret treasures. I played with the kittens who were born there. You deserve a photo, don't you, attentive reader?
I was also on a mission to find their lost weeding photo, for their anniversary next week. So, awaking at 4:30 (thank you, jet lag. Yes, still) I made my way to the upstairs to search for it. Unfortunately, my grandfather awoke then, because of course, great grandpa (still living on his own) wants help getting dressed every morning at 4 am. I made up some excuse about using the upstairs bathroom so as not to bother them. But their photo was nowhere to be seen.
I skyped my father, and he managed to come up with a sneaky plan to go over to my great grandfather's and find it there, by telling the grandparents he was looking of a photo of him at 15 on a lawn chair (never found it - I don't know where he got the idea for that one). Lo and behold, he did have the picture. The only one, it seems.
So that was that.
My face is breaking out in pimples. I guess I'm not eating as healthy as I should. Oops!
Anyway, more kittens:
See you all soon,