FIL arrived via train this morning. Now, he doesn't live that far away, at least by the standards of our time period and culture. The train is just more convenient, less stressful, and less expensive. We, however, are train geeks, so an arrival by train is exceedingly fun. We drove to the station, hit a road block, and had to drive all the way around to get to the platform. This meant going over a bridge; T-Guy spotted the transfer equipment for the containers (trains to trucks/intermodal), and he was practically out of his seat with excitement.
Grandparents can be treasures in children's lives. It sounds like a cliche, but the reality is that there is potential for a fantastic mentoring relationship with grandparents. They love their grandchildren far more unconditionally than they loved us as children, or than we love our own children (oh, we try for unconditional, but it doesn't happen). It helps if the parents have good relationships with the grandparents (be they their own parents or their ILs).
It also helps to step out of the way and let the kids direct the action. Off and on today I have drifted in and out, sometimes participating and sometimes leaving FIL and the boys to their own activities. They played the Game of Life; I sat with them but stayed out of the game until my help was requested at the end. The listened to an audio book; J-Baby had insisted on going to the library last night to borrow Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing because "Grandpa likes it". Then they had a snack (I cut up fruit) and asked to use the vintage Spirograph I bought at the thrift store. I got them started, then FIL and I sat and chatted while the boys experimented.
Papa arrived home from work and now they are all off on a bike ride. We'll have supper when they come home (beans and cornbread), and then it is family movie night. I would have liked for us to walk after super, but movie night is inviolable around here.
I'm looking forward to the time after the boys go to bed, when the talk turns more adult, and when Papa and FIL are bound to bring out their guitars and sing together. I kind of wish that tonight wasn't movie night so we could all make music, but I doubt the boys will go for it, and despite my growing relaxed parenting as the boy get older, Papa still likes bed times. But we all sing together often, so I'll sink into it and take the evening as it comes.