‘Walk with me, Grandma’

By Teresa Schmied | May 1, 2023

Teresa Schmied and her grandson, Dexter, enjoyed a rainy walk in the Swiss Alps.

I’ve heard the phrase “trip of a life” many times. I even consider myself to have taken a few trips that were especially memorable. However, nothing compares to the one I took last fall see my grandson, Dexter, in Germany.
I’m blessed to be the grandmother of 10 grandchildren, or “my littles,” as I call them. Dexter is an IVF baby and the first-born of my daughter, Erica, and her husband, Mark, a weatherman in the U.S. Air Force. They moved to Germany when Dexter was almost two.
He’s now four, and it’s taken a lot of Facetime and trips to the post office to build our relationship. I’m happy to say it’s paid off. Dexter was excited to see his grandma and even shared his room with me.
As for me, I was anxious to the point of getting no sleep the night before departing and none on the flight over. Dexter came to the Frankfurt airport with his parents, and the wait for luggage was awful, knowing his smiling little face was on the other side of the wall.
My first meal in Germany was at Chipotle. Not my choice, but Dexter didn’t mind, eating and watching me at the same time. He kept saying, “I’ve been so ready for you, grandma.” We made up for it with a traditional German dinner that night, at the historic Burgschanke Hotel & Restaurant near the airbase.
After some sleep that night, the adventure really took off. We took a cruise on the Rhine River, and even though it was a rainy, chilly day, Dexter and I were quite taken with the castles we saw. Grandma had some hot chocolate, and then we went to the deck of the boat and took some photos in the rain.
My daughter and I had some time to ourselves during a quick train trip to Paris, taking in the Eiffel tower — magical when lit up at night — and the Palace of Versailles, another item on my bucket list.
Then it was back to my daughter’s home in Machenbach for a couple days of rest and fun with Dexter before our next excursion. During this time, we made cupcakes. Dexter is quite the little chef and even has his own chef’s cap. We played with Legos, visited a castle and listened to a lot of music. Dexter loves music and dancing.
Next, we visited Lauterbrunnen, Switzerland. Whatever image of a small chalet in the Swiss Alps you can visualize in your mind, the reality is 100 percent better. Fresh mountain air, babbling brooks and the sound of cow bells. It was one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been to.
Dexter and I shared a room in our Chalet and on the first morning we woke up to rain. Parking is somewhat different in the Alps than we are used to here. My son-in-law had left our car parked almost a mile down the mountain. If you’ve ever had the experience of having a knee replaced, you will understand when I say you plan your steps accordingly. The thought of walking down that slope in the rain was more than I could envision. So, I was thrilled to hear that my son-in-law was going to retrieve the car and pick us up.
However, Dexter is not really a wait-around type of child. He’s on the move from the minute his eyes open until he goes to sleep. Our umbrellas were open, and we had been standing outside about 10 seconds when I heard, “Grandma, walk with me.” Without missing a beat, I took off with him.
This was as quiet as I’ve seen Dexter. We walked and discussed the sights and sounds, and my heart was full. My daughter was able to grab a quick photo of us walking in front of her. That image and moment will forever be treasured by this grandma.
I hope the memories planted on that trip will last Dexter a lifetime, as I know they will me. He is now five and finally a big brother to 2-month-old Grant, the youngest of my littles. I can’t wait to create memories with him some day.
Teresa Schmied is advertising director of The Active Age. The trip to Germany was her first overseas. She can be reached at teresa@theactiveage.