The Motor Vessel "Once Around"

The Motor Vessel "Once Around"
The Motor Vessel "Once Around" in the Florida Keys

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Finding Buddy Bear

A tiny whisper in the night, "I can't find Buddy Bear".

I begin to slowly awaken from a deep sleep.  Boats...not bears are all I have been thinking about every waking moment for weeks.  I am disoriented.  I have lists of things to do as we prepare to depart on the great loop, now only six weeks away.  Lists of boat repairs; lists of provisions; lists of routes and ports of call; hell, I have lists of lists...

A little louder, "I can't find Buddy Bear!"

I glance at the alarm clock, 5 AM.  Buddy Bear is on none of my lists.  Why am I thinking (dreaming) about him?  I am really losing it.

Suddenly the fog is parted by the voice of the Admiral, "Did you look for him on the floor?"

Oh yeah, I now remember my six year old grandson, Ben, and his four year old sister, Lia, are spending the weekend with Grandma and Nonno while our daughter Dina and son-in-law Darrin enjoy a few days of well deserved R & R (Garth Brooks and alone time) in Las Vegas.  I feign sleep as Grandma gets up to join the bear search and then feel a bit guilty as I hear her hobbling down the hall on her broken toe.
This is the first of two nights we get with the grandkids.  They love to stay with us and we love to have them.  We spoil them rotten.  What are grandparents for if not?  We also know we will miss them horribly when we leave for the boat in six weeks.  If more than a week or two goes by now, we acknowledge to each other that we need a grandkid fix and call Dina with a subtle hint like, What's for dinner?". 

Last night after our dinner alone with the two of them, we tried to talk to them about our upcoming trip:
"Did Mommy tell you guys that Grandma and Nonno were going away for a whole year on our boat?"
"Because we want to, do you know how long a year is?"
"Ben, you'll be in the second grade, almost the third grade when we get back."
Large eyes stare back in disbelief.
"But you guys and Mommy and Daddy can come to the boat and see us."
"OK, when are you going away?"
Grandma thinks for a moment and responds, "In thirty-eight days."
Ben says dismissingly, "Oh, that's a long time from now, can I have more pasta?"

Laying there at 5 AM I smile inwardly recalling the rest of the evening, watching Home Alone 3 (not for the first time) and the first 47 minutes of Free Willy (a first for me) with Lia on my lap, until Grandma releived all of us by announcing bed time (9PM!).  As Carrie slips back under the covers this wee hour she thinks I am still sleeping, but, I whisper, "I can't find Buddy Bear either."
Agan in her Admiral voice she replies, "Go to sleep".  Oh well, worth a try.

7 AM:  We are awakened by the shout, "NINJA BEAR!!!"  

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