Heather, Isaac, Max & Kerry

They’ve gone.

Three weeks have flown by. Of course, Heather’s dad Max and step-mum Kerry haven’t been with us the whole time. They have been heading off round the country for three or four days at a time, returning for a couple of days in between to recharge the batteries and spend time with us and the boys. But, as I write this, they will be in Dubai for a day’s stop-over on their way back to Perth.

We probably won’t see them for another couple of years, I guess. How do you explain to a two-year old that he won’t see his Gran and Granddad – who he has just gotten used to having around – for that long?

Sure, he knows they live in Australia and that they had to get on a plane to go home, but he doesn’t really understand what that means (although, to be fair, he comprehends a lot more than I give him credit for). Pretty much his entire universe – other than a handful of holidays – exists within an hour’s drive of home, so how do you explain a distance which requires 19 hours’ flying to him? And he is accustomed to seeing his other grandparents on a regular basis; my parents two to three times a month, Heather’s mum and Allan every four to six weeks. Two years is – literally – a lifetime in his terms.

Surprisingly, he waved them off yesterday afternoon without any real fuss, and then went to bed quietly. There weren’t even any pleading requests for Gran and Granddad to read to him, which had become an eagerly anticipated part of his bedtime routine. We’ll see how he reacts over the next few days as it dawns on him they’re not coming back, but so far so good.

Anyway, it’s been lovely to have Max and Kerry here, and to be able to repay some of the hospitality they have shown us over the years. I’m not sure it’s possible to have had easier guests: they fetched themselves to and from the airport, drove themselves all around the country with little more than a guide-book, some hand-drawn maps and a list of suggestions of places to see. Plus it always makes you appreciate your country a bit more when you hear it described with enthusiasm through a tourist’s eyes.

Heather talks about being a little bit jealous of them – as am I – as it has reminded us that our best holidays have involved jumping into a car and just driving from place to place. It is something we have been lucky to have already done; one day, we will hopefully be able to do so again.

Anyhow, it’s not all bad. We will be over in France for five days in a few weeks’ time, so that’s something to look forward to. For now, things will return to normal for a while, which is no bad thing.