The sound of silence…

Our son’s family had been here for a week. Yesterday was departure day. Bill made two trips to the airport- once at 4:30am for our son’s flight, again at 10:30am for that of the daughter in law and the 3 children. When I arrived home from work at 4:30pm, the house was eerily quiet. It’s amazing how quickly one can get accustomed to the noise of other people being around, especially the sounds of small children happily being part of the household, even if only for a week.
I was reminded of a story my father tells of a couple in the little town in which I was raised. They kept their grandchildren, who lived 30 miles away, every weekend. When he gathered with other local men at the drugstore for coffee on Monday mornings he told them that the prettiest sight in the world is tail lights on Sunday night. I suppose if we kept ours every weekend for 52 weeks every year I might find some agreement with his thinking. But since the departure of ours from our home occurs only one or two times a year, it is a bittersweet thing for us.
I have friends with grandchildren scattered in far places who may only see them once a year, if that often. How sad that our culture is so mobile and grandparents often miss the day to day perspective of seeing grandchildren grow up. Recently Bill and I were watching an episode of a TV series about the migration of Americans westward during the 1800’s and the thought occurred to me of how many grandparents of that era had children and grandchildren move across the country or be born after a cross country move whom they never saw again! I guess there are advantages in being born in an era where modern interstate systems and reasonably accessible air travel are available to us. Although I understand that there are families right here in our community whose children live long distances away and who, because of the cost of travel, have not seen children and grandchildren in years! I will be grateful for my handful of visits a year back and forth and delight in the fact that they are happy and well taken care of by parents who are also happy where they are.