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It was Valentines Day. I remember because it was the first time I had ever had a singing telegraph delivered. It was a time of firsts for a lot of things...

I quickly ran to the door at the sound of the doorbell, expecting something completely different than what I got. You see, my son Jimmy was bringing my three grandkids to stay with me for the weekend. I certainly didn't expect to open the door and find a half naked man toting balloons and candy! I can't quite recall the song he was singing but who could blame me, there was a lot more to pay attention to than song lyrics! I'm old, not dead.

It was less than half an hour after my 'telegram' arrived that my door bell once again rang, this time announcing the arrival I had been expecting. It is one of the most delightful things in the world to be mauled and attacked amongst the screams of 'Grandma!' and 'Mimi!'. The littlest one is only 3 and unable at first to say 'grandma' it became 'Mimi' and stuck.

"What? Have you finally gotten too old to kiss your mother?"

"Hi Mom," and with that I was swept up in a big hug from my oldest son. It's been a while since I have actually sat down and spent a long relaxing day talking with him and that day was no exception. Now don't turn it all around, I hardly feel neglected! I'm very proud of all my children and I feel very loved. Usually he's just too busy with work or the kids to drop by, but on this particular day I hurried him off to spend time with my lovely daughter-in-law, Alison.

And so there I was waving from the door when I heard squeals and giggles from the living room. Entering to find the children jumping up trying to catch the balloons, a sudden thought struck me. I had better go thank the boys before they all got off to their own Valentines activities. Gathering up the little ones, we headed for the house next door...

Another surprise that day, and another first, was the meeting of Maggie. The graceful yet no-nonsense woman who answered the door. She seemed to recognize me right away, though I know we'd never met. I'd have to find out just what the boys had been saying about me...

"Mrs. Eta!" John stood up as my brood and I entered the living room. He gave me a little hug and then turned to kiss Maggie, "Have you met Maggie?"

"I have...and what a lovely lady. It's nice to see that you haven't been wasting that charm, John."

Maggie gave a loud laugh as she reached to cup his face and give him a kiss on the cheek.

"Mrs. Eta!"

I had to smile as I heard the familiar sound of HM. Always full of unreleased energy, he entered from the deck dragging a not so reluctant Templeton behind him.

After hugs and introductions, Amanda and Matthew, the youngest and the oldest at 3 and 9 respectively, dashed off to play somewhere. My little Jenny, who was 8 at the time, declared that she was too old to play pretend and stayed amonst the adults.

Now you are wondering just how kids grow up so fast, but let me put your mind at ease. Jenny is as much a child as any and it wasn't for being 'too old' that kept her in that room. With a very knowing smile, it didn't escape my notice just how close she stayed to Templeton that day.

HM was helping Maggie set the table. It was such a beautiful day, and being unusually warm, we had decided to lunch on the deck. Hannibal and I sat on the deck swing as we watched Templeton and Jenny.

They had sprawled on the opposite end of the deck with paper and crayons, laughing and drawing.

"Well, I think Face has a new admirer."

"They certainly seem to be enjoying each other's company. But I must say that Templeton best watch out, she has a jealous streak and a temper that rivals any red head."

John let out a hearty laugh causing the objects in question to glance in our direction. It was just at that time that the two escapees made their entrance riding atop BA's shoulders. Upon being placed back on the ground Matthew bolted like a rabbit with his tail on fire, straight into HM who was stepping from the house onto the deck.

to see the expression on Matthew's face was worth all the tea in china. Knocked on his bum he looked up at HM with an mixed expression of awe and shrewdness. Curious about the tall man in the chefs hat and frilly pink flowered apron, while at the same time wondering how to get out of trouble for nearly tripping him.

Lunch was simple but delightful. If I recall it was chicken salad and lemonade. As I mentioned before it was an unusually warm day...

And so that first meeting between my grandkids and my 'adopted' kids came to an end as the children and I prepared to return home.

"It was such a pleasure to meet you, Mrs. Eta," Maggie gave me a gentle hug as she stepped back to let the others do the same.

Just as Templeton was giving me his hug the clock chimed, "Oh no! I have to get ready for my date! Cindy will never forgive me if I'm late..."

Now this comment set off a quite series of expressions. The men started teasing, Maggie and I just laughed, but I'm afraid the children didn't quite understand the humor of the situation. All except for Jenny, who crossed her arms and let out a 'Hmmf!', which of course sent everyone into peels of laughter.

Always attentive to the ladies, Templeton knelt down and whispered something we couldn't hear to Jenny. This resulted in a big smile, a hug for Templeton and squeals of laughter as she quickly ran off followed by her siblings, obviously content in the fact that her first love was true.

"What was that all about?"

Templeton stood up and straightened an invisible wrinkle out of his clothes. Giving us all a grin he simply said, "A gentleman never tells."