Phyllis Britt

Phyllis Britt

I keep looking for a chance to settle into a summer routine, but so far there’s nothing routine about it.

Grandson Cade spent all last week at Boy Scout camp, so that was weird. When we’re used to seeing him virtually every day, to go a whole week without seeing or talking to him at all was a bit disconcerting. We did hear from the Scout Master last Monday that Cade was homesick. He asked that when we talked to him not to discuss missing him but to be upbeat about all the new things he was doing. The Scout Master assumed Cade had a cell phone and could call us at any time. Maybe I’m out of step with the rest of the world, but it never occurred to me that some 11-year-olds might have a cell phone. And luckily his parents and we are on the same page about that – I’ll admit I did at one point express concern that Cade was old enough to be left home alone for short periods, but in an emergency he wouldn’t have a way to call 911, even, since his parents don’t have a landline. Daughter Cat reminded me that he could use an iPad to call, however. Anyway, no one talked to Cade while he was away, and by Tuesday or Wednesday he was so involved in Boy Scout activities that he forgot to be homesick.

While Cade was away, we had a visit from our Greenville girls. Granddaughter Payton was thrilled to have her cousins here to entertain. She definitely likes to be the one in charge, and Pearce and Clarke are just young enough to be willing to be bossed around. They spent the week playing hide-and-seek – the person who was “it” counting to 100. That in itself was good practice for a 6- and 4-year-old.

I have mentioned before how pleased I am that all seven of my grandchildren get along so well together, though sometimes it means they have way too much fun at the expense of the sanity of the adults around. This time, all three girls were so tired each night that they just fell asleep – no giggling, no loudness, just sleep.

And just as Clarke and Pearce were arriving, there was a new twist in the week. My daughter Cat and her kids, Cade and Payton, have wanted a pet for a long time. They used to be somewhat content enjoying our pets, but now that we have no pets, at least for now, they have really worked to convince their dad that they should have one. Scott finally agreed that when Cat completed her real estate licensing they could get a cat. That happened about a month or so ago, so one Saturday they all trekked down to the SPCA and came home with a Tabbico (a tabby-calico mix), whom they named Phoenix. This kitty is about seven months old and an extremely calm, quiet soul. Then last week someone posted a picture on Facebook of a tiny black kitten. Cat, who was always my “save the puppy” child, was smitten. This kitty had managed to ride in the engine of a car from someone’s home to Aiken Technical College – unscathed. The ATC security folks posted a photo of the kitty on Facebook, relating how she came to be there and asking someone to take her so they wouldn’t have to turn her over to the animal shelter. Cat couldn’t resist. She called her husband to say she was going to take this kitty – after all, you can’t have just one, now can you. Scott was surprisingly agreeable. Thus enters Midnight. The SPCA does now have its own clinic, providing shots and more at a very reasonable cost, so they had her checked out and happily brought her home. (As an aside, I have always been opposed to neutering a cat until they were much older than this 8-week-old, four-legged baby. Yes, I understand that so often folks get a pet and then “forget” to bring them back for the procedure. When we got Arthur, an orange tabby, he came from the SPCA, and they wouldn’t allow us to take him until he was fixed. I begged, promised to sign in blood that I’d bring him back when he was closer to a year old – a vet once told me that males, in particular, need almost a year for their urethra to grow in order to protect against urinary tract infections later – but I’m guessing neutering early is better than not doing it at all.) Because Cat didn’t get the black beauty from the SPCA, they just said bring her back when she’s closer to six months.

Scott worried briefly about how the first cat would react to the second. The good news is that the tiny Midnight is not at all intimidated by the 7-month-old Phoenix. In fact, she treats the cat who is three times her size the same way she treats the feet and ankles of the humans now in her life – she lies in wait and attacks (playfully) when you least expect it.

As a result of this turn of events, our Greenville girls were more than entertained by these new additions. I was concerned that they’d be unsure of the kitties, because they had become somewhat wary of pets in recent months – but I need not have worried.

We ended the week with all seven grandchildren under our roof. It was at that point that I realized just how far I’ve come. I was sitting in the kitchen watching my grandkids play. Cade, back from Scout camp and a week away from all electronics, was catching up on his missed games. (Did you know Niantic, creator of Pokémon Go, released Harry Potter: Wizards Unite this week? From those aficionados of such games, the new Harry Potter game may prove to be even better than Pokémon.) Rising ninth grader Ariah was busy on her iPod. The other five – ages 9, 6, 4, 4 and 2 – were line dancing through the house – and very loudly, I might add. Time was that I would have been crazy with the noise level. But there I sat, carrying on a conversation with my son, daughter Cat and their spouses, as though there were not utter chaos passing us by.

Therein lies the beauty of being the grandmother, not the mother.

Now on to Vacation Bible School this week.

As I said, I’m still looking for the summer routine.