A friend (and neighbor) has been spending the semester--she's an art teacher--in Italy. Her daughter, who lives far from her (not only from Italy but on the opposite coast in the U.S.), flew to Italy with her husband and year-old-daughter to spend six weeks of family togetherness. The fact that it was in Tuscany added to the aura of the visit.
There have been ups and downs but mostly it has been a wonderful time, my friend's emails tell me. A recent one ties together two themes about such visits and about our relationships with our grown children and their children. The first is that it's a rare treat to be able to spend uninterrupted time with our grown children. The second is a corollary of the first: our kids and their families are only on loan to us--they have their own lives once they leave the nest.
Her email starts out by referring to my last email on our bird feeding battles with squirrels and the joy of bird watching from the breakfast window.