Wishing for the folks in Indiana

That does it. I’m moving to Indiana. My daughter is in El Salvador. My son with the youngest grandchild insists New Orleans is his home. And, last week the college kid, who has been hanging around all summer, stayed behind when we returned after a week of vacation in Indiana visiting his three brothers.

I made the most of our brief visit. I grabbed the three oldest granddaughters and officially told their parents we were shopping for school clothes – we only strayed a bit.
The oldest bought the requisite new outfit while looking for the mall’s toy store. Once we found it, she picked up a shiny red, model car that was on sale. I took it to the cash register.
She came over and picked it up . “No, I better buy clothes instead.”
“Oh phui,” I said. “If I don’t buy the clothes for you, your mom will. If you want the car, let’s buy it.”

She shyly smiled her agreement and let me charge it.
Her sister dutifully tired on and picked out today’s school uniform: jeans and T-shirts. No one wears dresses to school, but her hands and eyes strayed to the racks of dresses. She wanted one.
“Try it on,” I handed her a dress.
She tried on a couple, found one that fit and asked if it was OK if she bought that instead of school clothes. I did my grandmotherly thing and agreed. It put her a smidgen over the shopping budget I had given her, but she did look cute in it.

As we toured the clothing shops, the third grader watched with disdain. “I have lots of clothes.” She asked for and got candy, picked out a pair of jeans and rolled her yes at trying on a matching shirt. As I studied a rack of toddler clothes on clearance, she disappeared into the shoe section. Ten minutes later she emerged with a smile on her face carrying a small pair of black platform sandal decorated with machine stitched flowers.
“Can I get these? They are only $4 on sale.”
“If they fit,” I agreed.

She strapped them on and went home happy.
The next day, I kidnapped the little girls. I knew better than to take toddlers to the mall. We did shop at a garage sale with children’s clothes and toys. The 3 year-old guarded her new doctor’s set fiercely against her 2-year-old sister who was not interested in the children’s book we had also purchased.
At my mother-in-law’s house they were two very busy little people. They found her toy cupboard and emptied it of all the boxes of toys. They found her magazines an colored them. The found her piano and played one fingered tunes.

I watched, steered them away from the breakables and tried to interpret their private, sisters-only language.
The next day, a 4-year-old foster grandchild helped me wash clothes, insisted I take my turn on the exercise trampoline and told me the music on Un-solved Mysteries scared her.
Sunday we returned to our newly remodeled house — devoid of children. After two days of quiet I’ve had enough. Let’s go see the kids in Indiana.