Agnes Arrives

Last week, when our grand daughter Agnes (age almost 11), returned from a year in New Zealand, she came to stay with us for a week while her parents stayed elsewhere and organized their new lives: jobs, housing and so on. It was quite a week for us, her aging grandparents. But don’t worry – I only have 600 words to touch on the highlights.

Our first mission was grocery shopping for her favourite foods, followed by lunch at Tim Horton’s for her favourite bagel with cream cheese. Alas, the bagel’s flavour had waned over the past year. So during lunch I was able to bring up the subject of Missy and Sissy, Agnes’s 2 pet mice who had been in my care while she was away and had died in the spring. They were waiting for her, well-wrapped, in our freezer. Both Agnes and I were anxious to send them to the afterlife.

We went to Michael’s and picked out tiny boxes which Agues would transform into little coffins with some paint. She found a couple of rocks which could serve as headstones. And she chose a spot in our garden under the magnolia tree. Peter, aka Nonno, dug a hole and we had a very reverent burial – with their coffins, their food bowls and sunflower seeds, and one toy each, just the way the pharaohs have treasure buried with them. Those mice had a high-class send off!

Now that our obligations were taken care of, Agnes wanted to go shopping at the Eaton Centre. It’s not hard to believe that there are no malls of this size on the NZ South Island. I worried a bit when she said she wanted a new purse, the kind that transforms into a backpack so she could ride her bike or roller blade while wearing it. Then she mentioned Gucci. Oops! At the first store we found one she liked for $50. I figured I could afford this but Agnes announced that it was too expensive because “I might lose it, Nana!” Smart girl. We finally left the Eaton Centre and went to Winners where I explained that the rents are lower and so are the prices. Agnes found the perfect bag for only $40. Phew!

Our next big outing was to Centre Island. We took the ferry over without incident; no falling off the boat or anything. Maybe something more exciting was in store. But Agnes wanted to go to Centreville. I tried to discourage her because she had been only 9 the last time she visited and she might find the Tipsy Teacups and the Big Bear Ride a little childish. She persisted and finally chose 2 rides: the ferris wheel and the log flume. Which one of us would like to go with her? I quickly opted for the ferris wheel and let Peter have the log flume – the one where you climb into a log, go up and up, then shoot down the river to the bottom where you get soaked. I thought he might enjoy it… But I did hear some screams from high up, before the plunge, and they were definitely Not from Agnes.

After that adventure, Agnes strapped on her new backpack and her roller blades and we all set out for the bike rental place. Peter and I got a quadracycle, basically a two-person bike, side by side. This seemed like our speed! Agnes easily bladed well ahead of us and had to keep coming back to see what was taking us so long? Finally, in desperation, she grabbed on to the back of our bike and started pushing! We saw a lot of other grandparents laughing out loud as we were pushed along.

We had lots of other adventures during our week together and the time flew by. Our bodies felt ancient but our spirits were young again! Welcome home, Agnes.


4 thoughts on “Agnes Arrives

  1. I look forward to many more Agnes stories. The reverence toward the mice was so touching, as was the shopping trip with this sensitive little person. 🙂


  2. Lovely stories. Agnes is blessed with fun and loving grandparents, and you are blessed having such a wonderful granddaughter


  3. It sounds like you had lots of fun being super grandparents. Be happy that Agnes didn’t want to build a pyramid in your backyard. It sounds like the mice had a lovely send off.


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