Bags packed and loaded, farewell kisses and hugs bestowed,
Small hands wave goodbye from car windows, and, then -
Sighing, we enter the house and close the door. They’re gone!
Silence consumes the space – no more squeals or giggles,
No more silly songs - nor terrible tantrums.
All that’s left behind is oatmeal on the booster,
Bits of Play-Doh in the carpet, alphabet blocks
Waiting to be reclaimed from under the sofa -
And, finally - peace and quiet for Grandpa and me.
“Now, you can relax,” he says.
“Or collapse,” I say.
We begin to put the house in order –
Breakables returned to low places,
Sippy cups stacked on the shelf,
Crayons aligned in their boxes,
Cookie crumbs swept away.
“It’s awfully quiet,” he says.
“Yes,” I softly reply.
Already I am retrieving the freshly made memories,
Turning them over in my misty mind,
Etching the evidence of their presence there –
Like the handprints on the window,
They are loveprints on my heart,
Treasures to be kept in their place, too, until
The ones who fashioned them return to us again.
Order, tidiness, tranquility - all restored, and yet –
How empty of joyful noise are house and heart -
When the grandchildren’s visit is done.
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