This past weekend, we took a trip across Montana to visit my Grandmother in Deer Lodge. We made a fun trip out of it, stopping for a few hours in Bozeman to allow Rocky to do some interviews for his dissertation and give the girls a chance to play at the "Dinosaur Museum" aka Museum of the Rockies. Both girls had a great time, especially in the Yellowstone Room, which allowed them to play camping, house, fishing, dress up and get scared by the gushing geysers.
After getting worn out there, we headed to Butte. Butte is about 30 minutes or so from Deer Lodge and as Grandma doesn't have much room, we thought it would be fun to stay in a hotel with a pool -- and of course we were right! Both Maggie & Jessie had fun in the pool and hot tub. We also got to experience Jessie's first restaurant melt down when we attempted to go to supper that night.
We had kind of been building up the trip to see Grandma to Maggie as I can remember going to visit great-grandmas as a kid and it was never much fun. A lot of sitting, listening to visiting. We packed toys and books for Maggie to help keep her occupied. But I do think we did a good job as she was very excited to see Grandma and even gave her a big hug. She sat on Grandma's lap and they read jokes (and Grandma let her take the book home!) And, Grandma had Harvey, Uncle Doug's dog, staying with her, which gave Rocky and Maggie the opportunity to get out of the house to throw the ball around with Harvey. All 3 enjoyed that!
These trips to visit Grandma are much different than the ones growing up. Visits back then all revolved around food. Grandma was always in the kitchen cooking or baking something. Our first visit to Grandma after moving to Montana was like that. She fried chicken, got up early to make us fried eggs, made a roast for dinner. I have wonderful memories of eating her donuts fresh from the fryer (why yes, I grew up with a lot of fried food), and bread right from the oven. But now, at 93, Grandma can't stand well on her own. She has a walker and doesn't leave the house much. To me, though, she still looks good. She still has her own mind and still lives in her own house. And, she's 93 and has 13 kids, 30 grandkids and 40+ great-grandkids. I think she's earned the right to sit.
I feel blessed that Maggie and Rocky have had a chance to get to know Grandma Lucille in a way that they don't get to with Grandma Alberta (as she is in a nursing home and not well after numerous strokes) and in a way that the girls and I won't get to with Rocky's grandmothers (as they both passed away a number of years ago). I don't know how much Jessie will be able to remember, and I guess that all depends on how long Grandma is with us and how many more times we are able to make that trip west.