6am on a Sunday morning, with the gap in the curtain showing only the slightest glimmerings of the dawn is not a time i would usually willingly embrace. I don’t think it’s a time that anyone willingly embraces to be honest, its more the time when you hear one of the children wake up and from the depths of a cosy deep sleep think “really? are you sure you don’t just want to give me another half hour?” (for the record the answer is always no).
But last week we got up at six, we woke the children, fed them, cleaned them, dressed them, popped them in the car and set off for the north on a day trip to Yorkshire to introduce Pip to as much of his extended family as hadn’t met him yet.
His Aunts and Uncle were home for the occasion too and it was great to catch up and watch the girls very evident pleasure at being reunited with some more of their favourite people and even better, the very special toys that live at Grandma and Grandad’s house; the contents of my parents in law’s garage having been pretty much the little ones’ sole topic of conversation all the way up the M1.
We chatted with H’s aunts and uncles who came around for tea, caught up on the family news, and one of his cousins played the guitar and sang and it all started to feel, dare I say it, rather Christmassy; especially when the cream cakes came out for tea.
But the highlight, and perhaps the chief reason for our trip was for Pip to meet his Great-Gran.
The oldest and the youngest – and one from the middle just for good measure!
I love that our girls and now Pip have had the chance to get to know their Great-Gran and Pip was certainly very happy to have lots of cuddles and lullabies, snuggling in to the same tunes sung to his Daddy thirty-something years before him.
My family has always been more spaced out, and there was never even a hint of a chance of my meeting any of my great grandparents, or for my children to meet theirs which I think makes that relationship all the more special to see. And Great-Gran is very special in her own right. She’s a proper old school Scottish Granny, she sings lullabies I don’t know the words to while wrapping up the babies in tartan shawls, she has the recipe for the most amazing Millionaire’s Shortbread you’ve ever tasted (and back in the day she used to send him off to university with a big tin of it) and it is utterly impossible to visit her at home without being offered (and by offered we generally mean ‘be forcibly presented with’ a cup of tea and a biscuit or a slice of cake regardless of time of day, vicinity of latest meal or in my case that fact that for the last 16 years my boyfriend then fiance now husband has drunk every single cup!
I’d had plans of taking some family photos while we were up north but the weather was wetter than wet and we never quite managed to have all of our more immediate family in the same room at the same time for long enough to take a photo, but even with the light dwindling away to nothing and the girls running around in their vests while they and their aunt explored the painting possibilities of her make up bag I knew I wanted to capture at least two generations together.
So yes, they aren’t the best photos I’ve ever taken; the light was lousy, my ISO was ramped up ridiculously hight to compensate, Pip was winding up for a squeak for milk, and in half of the ones I took at least one person is looking at someone down the other end of the room and possibly having a chat with them too.
But it doesn’t matter. It would be nice to be able to tweak don’t get me wrong, but as always I’d rather have these photos than none at all.
And so I find that when I look at the pictures I stop seeing the faults, I just see the happy smiles, the comfortable companionship and the joy that we all share in being together. It’s a little record of Great-Gran with all of her Great-Grandchildren around her and it’s perfect.