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Monday, July 16, 2018

You Had Me at Strawberry Picking!

Searching for the perfect strawberries at Lyman Orchards

Not long ago my soon-to-be 15-yr-old grandson Mateo asked me two very touching questions in the span of a few days:
  • When can we go to Lyman Orchards to pick strawberries?
  • When can you and I go on a cruise again?

While these may seem like ordinary questions, anyone who has a grandchild knows that the fact that that a young man that age wants to do anything with his grandmother, is something not to be taken lightly!

Ever since Mateo was three years old, we've made our annual summer pilgrimage to Lyman Orchards in Middlefield, CT to pick strawberries and blueberries. We started out as a duet but as his enthusiasm grew with each year, my two daughters started joining us. Eventually, even the family Pug made the trip with us – although sweet Maggie’s presence eventually was frowned upon.

Picking blueberries with Auntie Kimberly long ago

The last couple of years, “life” happened and we didn’t do our trek to the bountiful, blooming hills of Central CT in search of our sweet fruit. 

I mistakenly assumed that Mateo had outgrown our yearly ritual and while it pained me, I didn’t want to mention it. Call it fear of rejection!

Taking a break with Mom a year later

He only had to ask once and we were on the road to the strawberry fields - along with his mother, newborn brother and extended family - within days. 

Request No. 2 did not fall on deaf ears, trust me! From the time Mateo was a year old, we’ve been on cruises, usually with the whole family. 

In 2012 I took him on DisneyCruise Lines' newly launched Fantasy, a wonderful experience, which neither one of us will ever forget. 
Getting ready to set sail on the Disney Fantasy in 2012

He was only 8-years-old and this was to be our first foray into the world without other family members – not even his mom. I have to admit to having some trepidation about turning him loose on such a large ship, but Disney fortunately equipped passengers with cell phones so that family members could keep track of each while on the cruise.

I clearly recall my near terror when he asked to join some other kids and go off on his own our last night on board. I tried to act cool as I sent him off – equipped with cell phone and the promise to “check in” regularly – to join his newly found friends.

True to his word, he returned at curfew and then asked for a late-night snack before turning in for the night. I mean, who could refuse such a sweet kid!

There's nothing like a midnight snack after a night out with the boys.

Other cruises have involved extended family members and have become a ritual we all looked forward to, although as Mateo reminded me, we haven't been on a cruise in "a very long time."

Bridge tours are a "must" on every cruise.
I feel as though the clock is ticking and if I wait too long, Mateo will move on to “other” interests and leave those lush strawberry fields behind, so I’d better plan a cruise ASAP.

Autumn, of course means apple-picking, so my fingers are crossed that this trend will continue. But for now, the fact that he still wants to spend time with me makes me one happy Mémère! I am blessed!

Mateo, on the left, now towers over his fellow berry pickers!


  1. What a sweet story! It is nice, even at 15, Mateo still wanted to do some strawberry picking with you! I'm glad you had a great time and hope you enjoy the apples!

  2. Thanks so much for checking in! Indeed, I am blessed and I cherish every sweet minute.

  3. I love that photo of Mateo enjoying his midnight snack. I heartily endorse your instinct to seize the fleeting moments of time with your grandchildren. We went on and enjoyed several multi-generational cruises. On our Alaska cruise with 10 extended family members, we ranged in age from our younger son at age 13 to his great-grandmother, then age 90. I hope you and Mateo get to go on your cruise soon.

    1. Thanks so much, Suzanne. I'm working on it! Fingers crossed.

  4. It's wonderful to see you and your grandson enjoying quality time together. Unfortunately, not enough families make time for the simple things these days.

    1. I totally agree. That's why every minute I can spend with him is precious, and always has been.

  5. I too travel with my grandson solo and was worried this year that now mine has reached the teen years he might no longer want to travel with grandma. So I'm encouraged to hear that your grandson is still keen to travel with you at age 15. Such great memories to create and enjoy!