Isaac and Toby spent three nights at my parents’ this week and, as usual, they were spoilt rotten.
It’s a well practised routine by now. We never inflict all three kids on them in one go – we wouldn’t wish that on anyone! – but Kara stayed with them over the May half-term, so this time it was the boys’ turn.
Every time, we dance this merry dance. I tell my parents and brother they don’t need to have big days out or spend lots of money on the kids. They do it anyway. I remind them when I come to pick them up that they really don’t need to spoil them so much. They shrug and say it was no problem, that it was a pleasure to do so. I drive them home reminding them how lucky they are.
Next school holiday: rinse and repeat.
And so it was again this week. Tuesday was the big day. My brother took a day off work and he, Grandma and Grandpa took the boys off on an expedition all over London. The Emirates Stadium, Highbury and Stamford Bridge. (Yes, Toby is still obsessed about football.) Chinatown for lunch. (Dim sum, of course. But no dumplings coming to life.) Ice creams in Ealing. (Long story, not that interesting.) The Emirates Air Line cable car, which crosses the Thames from just by the O2. And various other stops en route.
They got home just before 9:30pm. A grand day out with the grand(parent)s, indeed.
In the meantime, at home Kara got to spend three days with our undivided attention. Even though she’s a social butterfly at heart, she loved it. And so did we. We so rarely get to spend time just with her without one of the boys butting in. As the third of three children, she has always been a member of a full and busy house, so these occasions are a treat for her too.
By the time I picked the boys up on Wednesday evening, they were exhausted but happy. Toby was asleep before we’d even reached the M25. Isaac and I chatted and sang songs from Hamilton together. (It’s just one of those things we do and I’ve long since given up trying to explain it.)
In truth, I think my folks enjoy it as much as the boys do. So I’ve learned not to complain too much about how much they spoil them. Just enough to let them know that I don’t take for granted how much effort and money they put into making the kids’ visits memorable ones. And why not, indeed?