(grandparenting)

The Weekend Australian - Review - - Contents - Pamela Cham­bers Re­view thislife@theaus­tralian.com.au

Af­ter a happy, but very hec­tic week­end, we were busy wip­ing the sticky lit­tle hand­prints from ev­ery sur­face, vac­u­um­ing up sand from trips to the beach and re­set­ting the di­als on ev­ery­thing from the dish­washer to the mu­sic sys­tem and wash­ing ma­chine fol­low­ing a visit from our two-year-old grand­son and tem­pes­tu­ous fiveyear-old grand­daugh­ter.

Then the phone rang and our daugh­ter said the words we had been dread­ing for years: “Teddy is miss­ing. Is he still with you?” Any­one who has lived with a child who is de­prived of a beloved toy or blan­ket will know what hap­pened next.

Nanna and Grandpa swung into ac­tion and the search be­gan. We looked un­der ev­ery couch, cush­ion, bed­cover and piece of fur­ni­ture and in ev­ery cup­board and crevice, all the while de­liv­er­ing a live com­men­tary down the phone line to an in­creas­ingly wor­ried mother on the other end.

I headed out­side to the three acres of pos­si­ble hid­ing places. It seemed that we had played, pic­nicked or gar­dened across ev­ery sin­gle inch of the property, as we searched and searched for the elu­sive bear in bird­baths, the veg­etable patch, the worm farm and un­der ev­ery pos­si­ble bush and plant.

Sud­denly, Grandpa had a bril­liant thought. “The car­a­van! I’ll bet he’s in the car­a­van.” Much ear­lier that morn­ing, we had all squashed into our tiny van for a morn­ing tea party. I held my breath as he toiled up the steep steps to the garage and dis­ap­peared in­side. A shout and a wave sig­nalled what we had hoped. Teddy was safe and sound.

With that first part of the prob­lem solved, we just needed to con­vince his sad lit­tle owner that he would be well looked af­ter un­til we could get him into the post of­fice the fol­low­ing day.

Thank good­ness that this Nanna is

tech savvy. A photo and re­as­sur­ing text from Teddy did the trick and there were not too many tears at bed­time.

The fol­low­ing day Teddy be­came a mi­nor celebrity at our lit­tle coun­try post of­fice as the kindly woman be­hind the counter made sure that he was very firmly and safely packed into his travel bag.

Oth­ers wait­ing in line then joined in with their own nos­tal­gic sto­ries of lit­tle ones sit­ting for hours un­der the wash­ing line wait­ing for the bear or blan­ket to dry when it sim­ply had to be washed, or the painful part­ing of ways when school days be­gan.

Next day, as Teddy’s ad­ven­tures spread via Face­book, thanks again to Nanna, he made his way safely home.

I swear that he is smil­ing in the photo that cap­tured his joy­ful re­union with his lit­tle owner.

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