THROUGH THE SCRUB GRASS and pines we hurried. Me leading.
“You go first, Grandma,” 5-year-old Isabelle urged on our mission to corral the dragons. I’d heard them earlier, their breathy, fiery voices coming from near the cabin. Just down the lane, I noted the broken fence and the missing dragons.
There were no dragons, of course, except in our imaginations. But the sound of the blower vent on the water heater prompted the dragon round-up. We four—the two grandchildren and Grandpa and I—chased the creatures back to their enclosure.
This dragon tale is among the memories I hold from our recent stay at a central Minnesota lakes region cabin. Time with Izzy and Isaac, 2 ½, and their parents is precious family time. Days of loving and bonding and building memories.
As in previous visits, Randy and I took the kids on numerous nature walks down the pine tree-lined driveway. And when we returned to the cabin, we dropped our finds in a tub of water. To see what would float—acorns, leaves, pinecones, twigs, birch bark… And what wouldn’t—stones. And that offered an opportunity to educate about Native Americans who crafted canoes from birch bark.
Staying at a lakeside cabin immerses us in nature without the distractions of technology and life in general. Izzy collected a mound of shells, five of which she was allowed to keep. I brought the rest home for Randy to bleach, dry and then deposit in a pint jar, a visual reminder of our time at the lake. Memories in a jar.
The water and beach drew us. To dip in the clear water, where schools of fish swarmed our feet.
Fishing, though, proved futile. While Randy, with the “help” of the grandkids, hooked some fish from the dock, all were too small to keep. Yet, the experience of fishing, of attempting to teach Izzy and Isaac how to reel in a line, bonds Grandpa and grandchildren. I loved watching the trio.
On one particularly windy day, Randy grabbed two kites from our van and headed to the end of the dock. The kids showed minimal interest, probably because they couldn’t run with the kite lakeside. We mostly watched from the beach as Randy patiently retrieved fallen kites from the water and then attempted relaunch. Repeatedly. His determination impressed me.
Like our last stay, Izzy opened her Sand Pie Bakery and we adults (role-playing vacationers) ordered pies in non-Minnesotan accents. Son-in-law Marc had us nearly rolling on the beach after he asked for a Mississippi Mud Pie in the thickest of Southern drawls. It was good fun, especially when Izzy claimed unfamiliarity with that particular pie while she stood with mud (sand) pie in hand.
But the grandkids are enthusiastically familiar with s’mores, a campfire treat prepared each evening, except on the day strong winds warranted fire safety first due to tinder dry drought conditions. This visit Isaac joined his sister as a s’more making apprentice. I tasked him with spreading peanut butter on graham cracker halves, then adding Hershey pieces. Doing this myself would have proven easier, quicker. But easy and quick are not necessary on lake time.
I loved the lazy time of lying in the hammock strung between pines and with a lake view. Izzy and I lay there late one afternoon while I shared about my growing up on a farm. I’m not sure how the topic drifted to that. But my memories interested her…until she brought up bears. “What if there really was a bear here, Grandma?” She asked. We’d shared bear stories around the campfire during our last cabin stay. I didn’t have the heart to tell her the truth, that a bear had been sighted in the neighborhood. I didn’t want to scare her.
“We would just scare it away,” I said, as the hammock gently swayed. That proved good enough for her.
She snuggled up to me. “I love you, Grandma.” In that moment, my heart overflowed with love for this precious little girl. This 5-year-old who wears tulle skirts on nature walks, who collects shells, who bakes pies from beach sand. Who, like me, didn’t want to leave the lake cabin…
© Copyright 2021 Audrey Kletscher Helbling
what a priceless, wonderful adventure for all of you! thank you for sharing
You are welcome. And, yes, we love this family time together.
You and Izzy are like kindred souls, two peas in a pod, etc. 🙂 Reminds me of the bond I had with my one grandma. She taught me how to read, cook/bake, sew, take care of the garden and chickens, etc. Lake cabin time and time away in general is always nice (especially when the tech is just put away). Those two are becoming little people – no more babies – growing up and seems fast too. Happy Day – Enjoy!
Yes, the grandkids are growing up too quickly. I love being a grandma. It’s beyond wonderful. I’m glad you had a special bond with your grandmother.
What a lovely, lovely time! Such sweet memories for you and your family! ❤
Yes, all around, Penny.
So now this comment area is working for me. Go figure.
Sounds like a wonderful time up north…creating special “up north” memories.
I’m thankful the comment box is working for you now. I’m with you. Who knows?
We thoroughly enjoyed our time Up North at the cabin.
I read your delightful story this morning to Dee while we looked out the window at Clark Lake. Your grandchildren are so lucky to have you and Randy as their grandparents. What wonderful adventures you have together exploring nature, learning new things and telling stories.
I so appreciate reading your blog. Your photographs and observations about people and places are so heartfelt.
I love that you find the beauty in the world around you. Thank you so much. In this messy world it is a ray of sunshine for your readers.
Oh, Ann, thank you for your sweetest of words. I cherish them. Enjoy your time with your sister at Clark Lake.
Love the memories you made. Chris is especially excited about teaching Theo to fish. There is something about that image that I can’t wait to see. You made memories and the grandkids will have those memories forever. The lake is a special place for your family and I am so happy that you have that special place that you can retreat to and enjoy one another.
We feel incredibly blessed that we now have this lake cabin available to us.
I can just picture Chris teaching Theo to fish. You will stand there like me, watching, and loving every moment of grandfather and grandson togetherness.