“Can we go to the adventure park?”
My son had just arrived with his children, as they had no school that afternoon. I had offered to do something special with them. Carl’s suggestion was no surprise; he loved climbing. And Sheila loved whatever Carl did.
“Let’s first have lunch,” I said. That might give me time to consider…
We put on our shoes and went down to the car. Suddenly, Carl remembered he hadn’t done his homework. So back we came – none too cheerfully – and he set to it. It was only filling in the missing names of various body parts: showda, elbow, rist,… They don’t care about the spelling yet at his age. That didn’t take long.
On the way down the steps, Sheila slipped and stumbled in her excitement. Her screams resounded around the neighbourhood and I saw her knee was bleeding. Back we came to patch her up, then set off again.
Gran was out on the balcony to wave and asked if I’d remembered to take some refreshments. I hadn’t. Back again – brows knitted – to pack a few nibbles and a drink.
We were just about ready to go when the doorbell rang. Oh, no, the neighbour wanted a hand unloading some furniture he had collected from his parents.
“My brother was supposed to come to help, and he’s just messaged me that he’s delayed. But I have to bring the van back in an hour. It won’t take long.”
I turned to the kids. “Why don’t you go and play in the garden while I’m busy?”
“Can I plant some vegetables?”
“Ask Gran if she has some seeds.”
“And I want to go on the trampoline.” She’d forgotten about her wounded knee.
The armchairs were no problem, but getting the huge sofa out, past all the junk in the porch – and then moving other things around in the living room to make space – was time consuming. There was still an antique chest of drawers, which left us panting.
I glanced at my watch as I made my way out to the garden. “I’m sorry, kids, but it’s too late to go to the adventure park now.”
“But you promised!” both shouted.
I hung my head. “Sorry, but it took longer than we thought. How about taking Frodo for a walk in the woods?”
“Oh, yes. Can I hold the lead?”
“You can take turns. On the way back we’ll drop into the farm shop to buy some eggs. And you can each choose a jar of jam. Gran wants to make scones for tea.”
Frodo dashed about, pulling on the lead and yapping at imaginary enemies. Sheila managed to pick a bunch of wild flowers for Gran. And Carl uprooted a young rapeseed plant to add to his garden. When we got home, we all had a drink and I read them an exciting story about Ramona the Pest and her exasperated by sister Beezus, while Gran was baking. It was soon time for Dad to take them home.
“Bye, Sheila, bye, Carl. Give our love to your Mum!”
“Bye, Pop! And thanks for a lovely afternoon.”
As I waved them off, I tried to remember what exactly I had promised.
Jesus said, “I came so that they might have life and have it more abundantly.” (John 10:10b)