A Timely Vacation

Melanie was in her room reading. Unexpectedly, there was a thumping sound in her closet. She put the book down. Someone giggled, even though there wasn’t anyone else in the room. Melanie ran for the door.

“Wait, Melanie,” a young sounding voice said. Melanie paused, halfway out the door. A small child tumbled out of the closet, followed by two older children.   The oldest seemed to be around Melanie’s age.

“You can’t call her Melanie,” the oldest child said.

“Well I can’t call her Grandma,” the youngest child said. “She doesn’t look old enough. It would be weird.”

“Grandma?” Melanie asked. The children froze and looked at her.

“You aren’t angry, are you Grandma?” The middle child said. “It was a wish. The fairy said we could visit you until dinnertime.”

“Are there any more of you here?” Melanie asked.

“Just us three,” the oldest said. “I’m Tiffany. That’s Greg, and Amy is the baby.” She pointed to the other two.

“I’m not a baby!” Amy said. Melanie laughed and came back in, leaving the door open just in case.

Melanie sat on the bed. “Come and sit and tell me more about yourselves and when you’re from.”

The children scampered over. “We can call you Melanie, right?” Amy asked.

“Of course you can,” Melanie said.

Amy stuck out her tongue at Tiffany. “You see, I told you,” she said.

“It’s just until we go home. Don’t call Grandma by her first name when we go home, Amy,” Tiffany said. The two girls started making faces at each other.

“I’m George,” George said. He ignored Tiffany and Amy. “I’m your favorite grandchild. We make cookies together. You always say that your mom’s cookies tasted the best. Can I have a cookie while we’re here?”

Tiffany stopped making faces and turned to look at George with a frown.   She looked at Melanie. “He’s not your favorite, I am. You’ve known me the longest. We talk about our favorite books. You said that you ride your bike to the library most Saturdays. We made sure to come on a Saturday. Can we go to see the library?”

Amy laughed. “They’re lying. I’m your favorite, because I’m the cutest of course. I want to go to the pond and feed bread to the ducks and fish and swans. Except for the swan that bit you. I’ll chase that one away.”

“Do you still have the tire swing?” George asked.

“Is it the right time of year for the snapdragons?” Amy asked.

“Grandma, do you still have your mom’s copy of Alice in Wonderland?   You said you’d lost it later I think.”   Tiffany said.

“Just a moment, just a moment,” Melanie said. “You’re starting to talk at once and not giving me a chance to answer.”

“Sorry Grandma,” “Sorry,” “Sorry Melanie,” the children said.

“You all seem very nice, so I’m sure that as your grandma I love all of you.   Now, if we only have until dinner, we’ll have to get started if we’re going to do all the things you’ve mentioned so far. Let me make a list.”   Melanie took out a pencil and paper and started writing.

They stopped at the kitchen for cookies and a few pieces of bread.   Melanie left a note to tell her mom where she’d be. They had to walk to the library because there weren’t enough bicycles. Melanie made sure everyone was bundled up, because it was the wrong sort of weather for snapdragons.

They stopped at the duck pond on the way. When the swans came close, Amy screamed and hid behind Melanie. They left soon after. They didn’t stay long at the library. They had enough time for a short tour, and then they went home and everyone took turns on the tire swing.

Before the children had to leave, Melanie gave Tiffany her mom’s Alice in Wonderland. “If it’s going to get lost later, it might as well stay in the family,” she said.

The kids all gave her hugs. “This was actually a really good idea, Amy,” Tiffany said.

“It was the best wish yet, better than George’s ever-full candy dish,” Amy said.

“You ate more of the candy than anyone,” George said.

“And it made me so sick I had to go to bed early,” Amy said.

The children were still arguing as they disappeared.

Melanie smiled.

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