this weekend we took a long planned, clandestine trip down to visit my grandparents in thousand oaks. back in june i realized i hadn’t been down to visit them since my papa turned 95 a year ago and that is just nuts – no matter how much we seem to always have going on. i was quick to plan a trip with just EBN but then i got pregnant and started puking/feeling generally crappy and realized i was in no shape to travel on my own. so we pushed back just a bit, ditched the flight, added ABN and the three of us headed down friday after preschool.
the trip was pretty perfect. we packed a hell of a lot
of food into barely 36 hours. EBN bounded out of the car waving and shouting, “hi grandma!” after a 7+ hour drive. she ran, full speed down the long, carpeted hallways of the retirement home, commenting on the flowers and other knickknacks that residents had used to decorate their front doors. my grandma has a bench that used to sit in the entry hall to her home, that now sits next to her apartment and EBN didn’t slow down as she jumped up to check out the cushions, remarking, “grandma, who crocheted these pillows?” girlfriend knows how to work it! the goal was to spend as much time as possible with my grandma and papa and we did that and more. EBN got to swim in their pool to the delight of many of the other residents. we spent hours looking at family pictures and reading stories and best of all, we went to dinner at the best.deli.ever. i am not exaggerating. i am a woman of low expectations so when my papa suggested deli for dinner i went along with it because i figured it would be easy. let me just tell you, the moment we walked through the doors and i saw the size of the matzah balls i knew i was in for a treat. as soon as i read that the turkey sandwich was made in-house and freshly roasted (music to a pregnant woman’s ears!) i shut my menu in an attempt to not be distracted. add a bit of russian dressing, cole slaw and jack cheese – done. i am not ashamed to admit it…i ate it all. plus, at least a half-dozen half-dill pickles.
i was a bit worried about this trip going in. not only was it a lot of driving for 3 days but i wasn’t sure how EBN would do with grandma and papa. i have very clear memories of visiting my own great-grandmother at around EBN’s age – and being terrified. she was old and scary looking to me and i remember she used to try to tickle me and pinch my cheeks. i was worried that it might be too much for EBN. silly me. sure, EBN asked lots of questions about grandma’s “owies” and the “buttons” in papa’s ears but she also showered them with hugs and kisses and giggles. she expertly navigated papa’s walker around the table so that he could get up at the end of our meal and held onto his leg as we walked toward the car, warning him, “papa, be careful, there are a lot of cars in the parking lot.” kvell.
we crashed at my aunt L and uncle B’s place which meant that EBN got to chase their dog for hours on end and i ABN and i could unwind comfortably. it happened to be my cousin’s birthday celebration as well – and my aunt made an icebox cake *- it really is lovely when life just works out.
these trips down south are always a mixed blessing for me. there are so many people who i would like to see (and so much more food i would like to eat) but i’ve found that there is no way to do it all. it some ways it is harder for me to see some friends and not everyone, so at times, i choose to see no one. this trip had to just be about grandma and papa. can you believe we didn’t even venture out of thousand oaks (and yes, that means no titos tacos!)? luckily we’ve got a couple of weddings next year (more on that later) that will bring us back to SoCal and allow us to see (and eat) some of our favorites. until then…
*please note, icebox cake loyalists know that the very best icebox cakes are made with cool whip, not homemade whip cream.