Saturday, July 16, 2011

True Happiness

My mind is blank.  It’s a completely empty page.  I thought of writing about the assassin bugs that live on my farm in northwestern New Jersey.  They look like kissing cousins to the ones Leighton wrote about this week, though hopefully mine are more Chagall than Chagas, and who can redux Leighton (but Leighton).  Besides, one “ugh” per week from Beth is more than I can bear.

So, why the sudden white out?  Two wordsruntogether:  Grandchildren.  Grand and children for sure.  But at four and two they still travel with their parents and it’s the little ones first trip to Mykonos.  Any idea how much pressure that puts on papoo—Greek for grandpa?   I was desperate to make sure they had a great time.  Not necessary.  I forgot how easy it is for kids to find a way to have fun on their own, even without an iPad.  A beach by the Aegean is more than enough, but add a pool, puppies, rabbits and, well, they’re all smiles.

The little ones have found friends by now.  It’s so easy to make them at their age.  My four-year-old grandson has learned to count to twenty in Greek (by twos no less), slap a Greek high five, and say “party time” when eight college-age blondes walk into a restaurant.  He’s found his Mykonos state of mind.  The two-year old just wears her sunglasses, smiles at every adult passing by and watches them melt.

Yes, the little ones are easily amused.  But what about the two who shepherded all that joy to me across two continents, in three flights, consuming eighteen hours?  To paraphrase Ernest Thayer, there is no joy in Daddy-Mummyville ‘til the two tots' lights are out.

Yes, their car broke down, too.
Not that my son and his wife don’t adore their children, it’s just that on vacation the work is even harder.  Routine no longer exists, every trip is an adventure that may yield unexpected results.  Nine events each day can go terrifically well.  Then comes the tenth.  The appropriate phrase in Greek is “Oy vay.”  Well, at least in certain parts of Greece.

For grandpa it’s “all joy”—that’s the dedication to my children and grandchildren in my latest book and I’m sticking to it (Prey on Patmos).  But joy comes at a price.  I want both generations to have a good time.  And, so, guess what?  Grandpa is now a baby sitter.

Yep, no more late nights on Mykonos.  No more partying (despite my grandson’s efforts), nor drop everything days for spear fishing or a quick sail to a neighboring island for lunch.  AND no more uninterrupted writing sessions.   Not for another week.

And when that week passes…I’ll be very sad.

For this is true happiness.



  1. Yes, and mighty cute they are too.

  2. Awwwwww, Jeffrey, you big softy. It's okay, I only like softies.

  3. Lil, the top two or the bottom two?:))

    Tim, that's Mister Softy to you, fella.


  4. For a two year-old, the world is a magical place and everything is a wonderful new discovery. A four year-old has mastered language and they are experts on everything. There is seemingly nothing for which they don't have a lucid, logical, and original explanation.

    A four year-old wandering in the ruins becomes the superhero of his choice. He can be Atlas carrying the whole world without a problem or he can be Achilles with a mother who remembered to move her hand. Mykonos can inspire his creativity, too.

    The princess finds rocks and shells and sees jewels. With a sheet of construction paper and some glue, she can create a masterpiece most worthy of a refrigerator.

    With those dark curls, the little ones fit right in.

  5. Oh, to be four again, Beth. Even two wouldn't be bad--if just for the DARK curls:).

  6. I can empathise with those parents Jeff. Holidays with small ones than be trials. The best bit is often getting home. But it's worth the trip just to see their joy in playing (and that first glass of wine once their asleep.)