Even though there is so much I love about living in Edmonds and the Seattle area in general, there is one aspect that has been hard as a father of twins: being so far away from family. Renee's parents live outside Orlando, Florida while my mom lives in the San Francisco Bay Area and my Dad is in Vancouver, Washington. And while Renee is an only child, I have 3 siblings – but we're all scattered with my younger brother living in Colorado Springs with his family, my older brother in the Bay Area and my sister just outside of Portland.
Obviously we don't get to see family very often, so its a special treat when we get a visitor up here in the Northwest. This past week my mom wrapped up a great 10 day stay with us. I know it's common for most of us to appreciate our own parents more as we grow older and this is certainly true for me. Even though raising twin boys (with one on the Autism spectrum) presents its own set of challenges on many levels, I simply can't imagine raising four children as my parents did with all of us.
Now I'm biased of course, but I think my mom has so many remarkable qualities that I admire and love. By nature I think that most moms out there love kids, but I have honestly never seen anyone who is as natural and comfortable around kids of all ages as my mom. She knows how to instantly relate to children, teens and young adults alike – and her genuine interest is recognized and appreciated. I think that kids have a sixth sense of sorts and can instantly connect with someone like my mom. I was able to see this during her last visit here with the twins.
Mom has always connected well with Ty even though she only sees him once a year – but he's really easy. He has so many interests and is always up to learn something new that it really only takes someone to invest a little time with him and he's hooked. Recently he's shown a real interest in baking and cooking so the timing for mom's visit was great. She was able to spend time with him making cake (with frosting of course), jello and homemade french toast and waffles.
What made this trip even more special was seeing Stone connect with his grandma for really the first time that I can remember. There were numerous times when he went up to her and gave her a hug – and on a few occasions even climbed up on her lap and cuddled with her on his own. It really meant a ton to mom and warmed my heart to watch. He clearly knows who is grandma is and loves her very much too!
And while mom can't do as much physically as she used to be able to do when she was younger, it was still a big help having her around while Renee went out of town for a few days to enjoy a well-deserved outing with some of her girlfriends. I was able to take Stone to bed without having to worry about Ty and she also helped with cooking and cleaning. But it was mostly nice being able to spend a lot of quality time together to talk. I'm fully aware that neither of us are getting any younger so I treasure these opportunities – much in the same way as I do the time I spend now with the twins. I know that nothing is forever so I'm doing my best to appreciate the good times together.
The highlight of mom's visit was last weekend. On Saturday I was able to show her around Seattle a bit (after the weather cleared) and we took the twins to a couple of great city parks: Magnuson Park and Madison Park. She loved driving through the university district, and the scenic drive through the arboretum to Madison Park. On Sunday we decided to take the ferry to Whidbey Island and drive the loop through the island to Deception Pass and then back to Edmonds via I-5. Although the weather didn't cooperate that day (with rain and cold temperatures) it was still fun for all of us to hang out together and take in the beautiful views throughout the drive.
Mom left on Tuesday and I was a little more bummed than usual when she heads back to California. I guess that's a sign of how much her visit meant and how much I knew I'd miss her when she was gone.