Level Two. Quality Time.

Level Two. Quality Time.

By Michelle Lloyd.

What did those two words actually mean? It was that to Little Herbert they signified quite a lot and it was how he prioritised those meanings that had taught him the most. At a time of social distancing, Little Herbert felt as if he had been coping with it all not too badly and that was because through his tablet he kept regularly up to date with his friends, family and particularly with grandpa.

Only just having finished chatting with the same grandpa online, the memories of a previous experience between the two of them came rushing back to him.  Little Herbert and his grandpa, had at that time been, geographically living quite far apart from each other. That was why, when an arrangement had finally been made to see one another, Little Herbert had got to be very serious about all the details. He had planned everything meticulously and despite all this, the carefully made timetable slowly started to unravel.

The first incident came when Little Herbert’s grandpa did not get to them on time. Seconds ticked by and seconds turned to minutes, which in turn developed into hours. A resulting call from Little Herbert’s grandpa enlightened them that the situation had been a bit more complicated at his end and the job at his house needed him to be present for a bit longer. This news did not go down well with Little Herbert.

Having arrived over four hours late for his original ETA, estimated time of arrival, Little Herbert’s face said it all. His smile was slightly forced for grandpa and as he stressed about all of the things that they would not be able to do because of the delay in time, his attitude worsened still.

Little Herbert’s dad as it turned out wanted to have a bit of a catch-up with grandpa and they went off together to get him settled in. This, Little Herbert felt went on a little too long for his liking. Did they really have to take two hours and thirty three minutes to get grandpa settled in to the spare room? He did NOT think so and thinking about all the planned activities that Little Herbert had designed for his grandpa to do with him only made him feel more anxious about it.

It was an extremely irate and very unlike Little Herbert attitude that saw him sigh in exasperation and tut at the pair of grandparent and parent. It had been suggested that grandpa take a little nap after his long journey and an even longer conversation with dad and this Little Herbert felt was the last straw, he simply HAD to protest against this kind of diversion from his grandpa and grandchild schedule, in the strongest of terms.

If grandpa went to snooze what was left of the afternoon away, what would be left of Little Herbert’s plans for them to spend time together? Much of his itinerary had already been left in tatters by quite frankly, what Little Herbert believed was a mismanagement and squandering of time, he was not about to let any more of it go array.

After Little Herbert’s outburst there was quite literally, silence…

Both Little Herbert’s dad and usually smiling grandpa looked taken aback. Pairs of eyes all held each others’ gaze in a deadlock of confusion, distress and anger. It was few tense minutes that then led to grandpa breaking the moment and the mood.

He looked hard at Little Herbert and then did something that he had not expected. He embraced him in an almighty hug. He then thanked Little Herbert for being so enthusiastic about his stay and told him that while he appreciated everything that he wanted to do with him, perhaps they better take a more relaxed approach about it all.

At first Little Herbert did not feel he understood why grandpa wanted to be relaxed, there was so much that they could do together. If they had fun in such short visits with each other then he could only guess at how much they could achieve without that distance separating them. After a little while he had to admit though that he had not been feeling quite himself and he agreed with his grandpa that if you were not able to enjoy what you had set out to accomplish, then what was the point?

Little Herbert decided to do as his usually wise grandpa had suggested. It was with a slight sense of apprehension that he decided to do away with his hard devised itinerary and go with the flow, as his grandpa had termed it, even though this expression from him had earned a wry smile from his dad.

Eventually Little Herbert felt he could breathe properly again and it was as if he could see his grandpa properly for the first time since he had arrived. Without the pressures of having planned everything, Little Herbert felt that he did not have to be in control of the time or what was being done about it. Instead he could take pleasure in simply chatting, laughing and inventing with grandpa, even though there were limits about the last part enforce by dad. Little Herbert found that he was the one who this time hugged his grandparent with appreciation and love.