The Nicest Times with Nana

by cecimadden

This weekend Nana Madden was in town and we four Maddens went for a splendid little walk.  I can’t tell the difference between male and female ducks, but I imagine the three ducks above, pecking at the grass, are me, Nana and Rachel, each minding our own business, and the most upright Madden is daddy-Madden, keeping watch over us, keeping us safe.  He does this so well and in so many ways…

When Nana comes to visit some of the nicest times we share are exploring the outdoors.  On one past visit we took her to the Brandywine River Museum which is nestled right by the river with lots of quiet little picnic spots.  The art inside was enjoyable and all, but sitting outside on boulders by the river, eating homemade tuna fish sandwiches was much better.

On one of her first visits to see us here we actually scooped her up at the airport and drove to the Chesapeake Bay.  Jim’s brother Sam was supposed to arrive several hours later and the most obvious use of that down time was to drive a few hours to the Bay, eat some legendary crab cakes, then drive back to the airport.  Equal parts spontaneous and cliche.  We drove for what felt like forever, and I would say we did so aimlessly except that Jim swears he knew exactly where he was taking us the whole time.  The scenery was captivating and the chit-chat was good too, but in true fun-killing fashion I said, If we’re not there in 5 minutes, let’s just turn around and go home.

4 minutes and 45 seconds later we were seated by the Chesapeake Bay, ordering crab cakes, delighted.

This past weekend we went for a less-adventurous jaunt down the river trail.  It was long and leisurely, Rachel napped, and it was absolutely the perfect activity for the four of us.  A group walk is so lovely, isn’t it?  It suits the introverts like me, and the extroverts like Jim and Nana.  We mingled, you know, Jim chatting with his mom, then she with me, then him with me, all while Rachel slept.  There’s a great intimacy and calmness in that, but it’s dynamic too and I like that.

Near the end of our walk, I took the opportunity to fall back a bit and steal some reflective time for myself.  I found great peace in that moment, breathing the world in deeply, feeling alone yet connected to my loved ones.