Cooper walked through the airport and up to the airline check-in desk with all the swagger and confidence in the world. I couldn’t believe he didn’t freak out at some point on the trip. I thought perhaps his excitement at visiting Grammy and Grampy all by himself would wear off when it came time to say goodbye to Mommy and Daddy at the airport. Wrong! That little Coop rose to the occasion, and left with stars in his eyes as he set out to make his way in the world.
Dad called me from the airport during their layover to say that Cooper was doing fabulously. Cooper raved about the airplane snacks and about playing tic-tac-toe on the back of the napkin with Grampy. He didn’t even reach a crisis at bedtime when I thought for sure he’d be nervous sleeping in a room by himself at Grammy’s. We were proud of our little giant dude!
Cooper had nine long days to be a Hoosier and to enjoy his Indiana family. There was lots of family to hang with—grandparents, four uncles, one aunt, and two cousins! He spent most of his days cooking and shopping with Grammy, playing at Grammy’s house, and playing with cousin Brooklyn. I think Cooper got along so well with Brooklyn since she’s Brynn’s age (they were born less than 48 hours apart!).
Cooper was also the first one in our family to meet little Jameson—Brooklyn’s baby brother. So cute!
Throughout the visit, Stephanie texted me pics of Brooklyn and Coop watching movies together or Cooper helping Brooklyn cross the parking lot. It was adorable!
Thanks to our family FB page, I could see all the pictures Stephanie and Jason took of their outing to the arcade, the Muncie Children’s Museum, the bowling tournament, and Cooper’s early birthday party. No wonder he was so brave—he was the center of attention and was spoiled rotten!
Dad told me how excited he was to play with Cooper each night after work. He took Coop for a ride on his restored antique tractor as they cleared Dad’s newly purchased acreage behind the house. I think he must have taught Cooper some golf techniques since the other day Coop described swinging a golf club “like a grandfather clock,”—not a phrase I’ve taught him. Dad also commented that having Cooper all to himself for an extended time allowed Dad to feel more like a grandfather and to get to know Cooper in a significant way. He admired the way Cooper would listen to Dad’s explanations of how things worked, and then comment on how he was understanding what Dad said. I know I have a tendency to talk for my children, so I’m sure it helped that Mommy wasn’t there. It was priceless to hear Dad’s observations about Cooper and to have so many family members invest in Cooper.
This trip was character-building for all of us. As the second child, Cooper had the exciting chance to do something first. Silas admittedly had a very hard time watching Cooper have so much fun without him. It’s a hard lesson, but we took the opportunity teach him that waiting your turn and being happy for someone else are important ways we can show patience, love, and selflessness.
Cooper flew back home with Uncle Jon. We all piled out of the mini van as he ran to us and gave us tight squeezes! It was a happy reunion! We celebrated with balloons and a welcome home banner.
Not only did we have our Coop back, but we had a few days to spend with Jon. He took the boys on a 4 mile hike to Krispy Kreme and back. He and Cooper also explored the Oregon Zoo and the World Forestry Center. This adventure was one that kept going since it was bookended with family visits on either side.
May you have many more brave adventures, Cooper!