I'm 6 years old. It's the weekend, and I'm excited. Not because there's no school for two days or because Going Live is on television in the morning. It's because I'm staying at Granny & Grandad's house. Dad drives me over and my excitement doubles with each minute that passes. No sleepover has ever matched the excitement or come close to the feeling of pleasure than those I spent with Granny Grace and Grandad Sam. And it's not because our time together was jammed packed with trips to the swimming pool, skate park, and bus station (occasionally, they were). Rather it was filled with everyday tasks that were done with the love and warmth of doting grandparents.
Granny was always happy to see me, whether she was brushing my teeth or refusing my requests for more Jaffa Cakes, it was always with a smile. Her inherent good humour was infectious and it was nigh on impossible to be sad in her presence (even in my teenage years!). A sleepover at Granny's was a luxurious experience. She was an accomplished hostess, not least because of her bed making skills. The electric blanket, copious layers of bedding, freshly fluffed pillows, and a large stuffed toy made bedtime all the more appealing. I would willingly retire to the warmth of the spare room to be tucked in, then lulled into a state verging on slumber as she sang me a lullaby before finishing the day by saying my prayers with me (for me).
Inevitably the end always came to each sleepover we had. It was always with a pang of sadness and a longing for the next that I said goodbye. I feel that same pang now but it's kept in check by the excitement bubbling within me as I look forward to the next time we're together.
1924 - 2012