narrated by: Mandy
After we retired, George slowed down, and I sped up. It’s why he gifted me with Sydney, so I’d have a running mate, because he was tired of trying to keep up, and his knees ache too much these days. In the past year I began mulling the idea of actually doing a race of some type, and while I would have loved to do a marathon, my body just isn’t up to running 42 Kilometers. So I set my heart on a half-marathon, and began training.
Rain, Shine, or snow, me and Sydney were hitting the pavement. I was concerned in the beginning that I wouldn’t be able to build my stamina for such a long distance, but it all slowly began to come together.
My granddaughter, Grace really wanted to do this with me, but she was already expecting baby number two. She is trying to coerce me into agreeing to do this all over again next year, but I have to finish it first before I can decide that.
I was a nervous wreck when race day came, I was by far at the top of age group and felt a few might even be making private jokes about me. I wished that Sydney could run this one with me, or that Grace had been able to after all. I think George knew I was nervous because he was full of kind, encouraging words instead of wise cracks like he usually does.
In the end I finished in 3 1/2 hours, and was somewhere near the middle of the end to come in. It was a rush to actually accomplish this, and I do believe I’ll take Grace up on the offer to run with her after the baby is born.
After the race, George surprised me with news that him and Hazel had thrown together a dinner party in my honor at The Red Mill. We rushed home to shower and clean up so we could be on time, it’s by far one of the sweetest things he’s ever gone out of his way to do for me.
I was a little nervous over an entire event thrown in my honor, it would have been nice to share the spotlight with George for an anniversary, or with Grace for running together.
In the end though, I was just plain excited to have most of my family under one roof. They had rented out the banquet hall upstairs, and there was going to be a DJ too. The only disappointment was that Finn and Nicole were leaving their youngest kids at home, because the youngest kids were all sick with the flu.
Hazel had made sure to invite Etienne, because she knew I was dying to meet him. George wouldn’t have thought of that, even though he had wanted to meet him too.
Looking around the room, listening to everyone chatter and getting along meant a lot to me. I couldn’t believe that me and George were responsible for all these people in this room, from our children to grandchildren, and even our great-grandchildren, Chaz and Ainsley.
I was most happy to see that Emma had come with her little family, I had thought she might skip it with the rift between her and her parents.
She even seemed to be making an effort to be pleasant, which I greatly appreciated. It’s no secret that her upraising wasn’t always the best with Nicole and Finn, but I didn’t want this night to be the time we brought that dead horse up again.
Seeing Jude and Hazel with their kids always warms my heart. It was always much more complicated with Finn’s kids, and intervention for the sake of the children. It’s not like that with Hazel, Jude is very attentive to them.
Roman was most impressed with Monroe, who felt a little jilted to be sitting in a high chair. Hazel had tried getting a booster seat for him, but apparently they don’t cater to three year olds very often.
George is always goofing around, and naturally had to sit next to Bea one of the goofiest kids out there. They kept pulling little pranks on each other, saying one spilled on their shirt, and tapping opposite shoulders.
I think they are just the sweetest young couple there is, not the least bias.
When I caught Oliver alone, I hinted a little to see how serious they were, perhaps a ring in the future. But he didn’t give me an ounce of inside information, other than to say that he was focused on getting his education completed first.
Ofcourse I had to ask Emma if she was planning on making Chaz a big brother at any point, and she laughed that one off. I didn’t think she’d be game for another one so soon, we all still remember the drama that surrounded Chaz when she found out she was pregnant. But she does so well with him now that I’d thought she might have warmed to the idea. She assures me that she is not planning on anymore kids, one is plenty.
Then there was Grace, who told me this was also the last they were planning to have, and I was disappointed. Absolutely happy for her and Benjamin, but a little sad to see their pregnancy years moving past them so swiftly.
Looks like I’ll be waiting for ether Violet-Adele to finally settle down, or the more likely, for Oliver to graduate and ask Paloma to marry him. George and myself just get excited seeing our family do so well with childbearing and raising of their children, and getting to spoil the little grandmunchkins while we can. We don’t want to pressure Vi, but we both feel she’ll be missing out on a lot if she doesn’t eventually settle down and have a family.
When Bea asked me in a super sweet voice if she could stay the night, it about broke my heart to suggest a different night. The only way I could turn her frown around was to suggest we invite her cousin Lily over when she was all better.
Everywhere I looked, everyone was enjoying themselves by catching up or dancing. All of the kids had plenty of attention and so many little cousins to play with.
I made sure to carve out time to thank George and give him a dance. As much as he doesn’t enjoy running, he still likes to dance now and again.
It was a little sad when the evening was over, but the littlest ones made it easier to say goodbye as they rubbed their eyes and began to fuss.
Then it was back to normal routines again, now that it’s spring Sydney likes to roll in the mud so I have to do the giant dog in the small bathroom bit.
I don’t mind though, I like to be a caretaker, and am so glad that George thought to gift me with Sydney so I have someone to look after and keep me active. Without that companionship, I’d likely be a mess much more often while Vi lived in Paris. It helps too that Hazel wants me to be active with her children, and that they adore us too.
Bea got the honor of being Student of the Month for her class, and got to invite a special adult to lunch with her, and she picked me. I think George was a little hurt, seeing that they are such good buds.
It was great getting to meet her little friends, and seeing her classroom. As an added plus, I got to eat lunch with Lily too, since they are in the same class.
Bea didn’t want me to go, and she had no desire to finish her entire afternoon studies. The only thing to cheer her up was that she was coming to spend the night with Lily over the weekend.
While we waited for the sleepover with the girls, me and George volunteered to take care of Chaz after we heard that Emma picked up the flu.
We took him to the playground at their apartment complex, and Chaz wanted nothing to do with George. Poor guy looked broken hearted over the rejection.
It didn’t help that he came to me so easily ether. I told him it was probably just his age, that little kids go through that stage, which George of course knows, but it still hurt I think.
He was feeling better after we came back inside though, I cleaned up the kitchen and prepared some soup for Emma. George sat on the floor and played peek-a-boo with Chaz, and he really warmed up to him.
Until naptime, he didn’t want George to take him to bed at all. In this instance though, he didn’t really want me ether, he wanted his Mommy or Daddy to take him.
Emma had woken from his fussing, and laid him down for a nap. She was grateful we’d come and watched him for a few hours, and then she was back off to bed while he rested.
When the weekend rolled around, I was likely as excited as the girls to have them sleepover. It’s always nice to have young feet running down the halls, and little giggles.
George likes it too, but he’s just as fine with an empty house. He does like the perk of sweets and cakes when grandchildren are visiting.
He doesn’t miss the days of fighting and disagreements though, which always come up no matter how close the kids are with one another.
I definitely wouldn’t mind rewinding time and raising my three children all over again, maybe change a few things here and there, but just overall enjoy them more.
But being a Grandma is pretty nice too.
Notes: I redid the upstairs of The Red Mill for weddings or what-have-you, and really wanted to use it. Plus, Mandy wanted to meet someone new, and who was new in the hood that she didn’t know, why Etienne of course! That Mandy, always wanting to see good looking guys.
What self-respecting, long time runner has never ran a race? Well none that I know, so Mandy ran in one, and next time Grace will join her. They are both constant “go jogging” girls, and have much passion for fitness. While George’s wants are watch tv, play a game, and other lazy things aside from his never-ending want for more grandchildren and to be friends with each and every one of them.
I seriously had a blast playing all of the McCarthy’s, I almost followed through with a family portrait of everyone, but then lost my desire to fiddle with all of them. I aim to this round though, just after Ainsley ages up and the new baby is born. Might as well wait since it’s just two months away now, but then I could wait til fall, then Monroe will be a child. I just don’t know what to do!