Essay: Grandparents’ lament at summer’s end

Our eldest granddaughter has been coming to the Vineyard ever since she was a little baby. So, three years ago, while a sophomore in college, she asked if she could live with us for the summer, if she could find a job. Needless to say, we were overjoyed, thrilled, and every other adjective that would apply to a granddaughter asking to live with her grandparents. Her love for this place is as deep as ours, and we were ready for the experience, as was she. She found a wonderful job which developed into new friends, learning experiences, business lessons, and meeting all kinds of people.

It is now three years later. She has been here for three summers, living with us for months in the summer, working hard, being with her friends, being with her aunt, uncle, and cousin who also live here, and being a perfect boarder. She would spend many hours working, many hours at the beach, spending as much time as possible with other young people, eating out at her favorite restaurants, biking, kayaking, shopping, texting, reading, conversing, and most of all, challenging us with her dreams, her goals, and her complexities about her future.

But, now, she has left us to go back to college for her senior year, and the silence is deafening, as they say. My husband and I were away for the weekend, we returned late in the afternoon, rounded the corner to our house, and there was no Honda Civic. I walked into the house, and her shoes, always in the hall, were gone. Her favorite foods, such as seafood spread from the Net Result, were gone, the Brie in the cheese drawer was half eaten, her favorite croissants were almost gone, my bike, which she rode, was still on the front porch, and most of all, I realized that she was on her way back to school…and the missing her started. There is no more of her running down the stairs to take her much-needed outdoor shower. There were no more dinners together on the deck, where we would all devour any kinds of fish, which she adored. There were no more conversations about “life” or the “tempo of life and the times,” no more discussions about “I haven’t figured out what I want to do with my life yet,” and so on and so on. And, watching her go out in the evenings all dressed up like a true twenty-one year old, looking so beautiful, new outfit, great hairdo, and smile on her face, will also be something we will miss.

However, we are content. The memories she has given us are unexplainable. The joys she has given us are unmatchable. I only hope that she has learned as much from us as we have from her, and as she looks towards graduation, she will feel secure in whatever decision she makes going forward about her life. We know that the Vineyard has been nothing but nurturing, informative, mentally expanding, and loving. I know it will be a “forever” place for her, as it has for us and our whole family. How lucky we have been to have her in our lives at her age and at our age.