Phantom pains, er, plans

grandparents and grandsons

My oldest grandson, the kiddo in orange above, the one who converted me from mother to grandmother, is eight years old. Every January since Bubby was born, from his very first January to the one last year, I've flown to the desert to visit him — and eventually his brothers Mac and Jak, too, as they expanded the family in perfectly timed three-year increments one after the other.

Most often, I made the 800 plus-mile trek from the mountains to the desert to care for the boys while Daddy attended an annual out-of-town conference and Mommy went along with. (Though last January's visit was related to our Disney GRAND Adventure.)

I've gotten used to those January visits. Grew to expect those January visits. Always looked forward to those January visits. Planned extensively for the January visits.

I'm not visiting the desert this January. Daddy and Mommy chose to "opt out of" this January's conference. And without their pay-for-grandma's-flight-instead-of-hire-a-sitter-for-a-week travel subsidy, I can't afford the trip on my own.

I'm staying put this January.

Which leaves me feeling adrift, without all the plans and prep that typically mark the first month of my year.

At this time each year I usually spend a lot of time planning...

• what crafts and games and recipes — culled from my Pinterest pins — I'll do with my grandsons during my stay.

• what to pack into my Grandma Bag to execute those craft/game/recipe plans I've put in place.

• what clothes to pull from my off-season selections that befit warm weather of their desert home versus cold and often snowy winter weather of my home in the mountains.

• what foods to stock in the freezer and pantry to keep my (non-cooking) husband alive while I'm away.

Plus plans for other various and sundry sorts of stuff requiring consideration in advance of my week or so away from home.

I'm planning none of that this January. Because there will be no trip to the desert this January.

For the past few days, I've been feeling like I'm forgetting to do something, that something's missing from one day to the next.

The planning is what's missing.

More so, though, I'm missing my grandsons. I have no idea when I'll next see them again. The absence of a January trip to see my sweeties has left a void.

So I've been filling that void revisiting my most recent visit with my beloved boys — when they and their parents flew from the desert the week before Thanksgiving to spend a few days with PawDad and me in the mountains. A few fun days of magical moments at Denver's Downtown Aquarium, Casa Bonita, The North Pole and Gramma's house:

(Feel free to go full-screen for maximum impact.)

Umpteen views of that video convince me it's time for the pity party to end. And time for the planning of a trip to the desert to begin.

A trip scheduled for some month long before next January, for sure, budget be damned!