I must admit, when first approached to do so, I wasn't completely sure I had the time, or the energy during a work week and the school year to entertain Benny and Emily for four, whole, days. After all, working fulltime, monitoring homework during the evenings, preparing healthy meals, filling lunch bags for the following day, administering the occasional Band-Aid and frequent high 5, keeping up with laundry and a plethora of other chores that would be squeezed into odd hours, in addition to caring for household pets and chickens, night walks (with brand new Gerber flashlights, of course!) showers and teeth brushing, bed time reading, and a fun outing, or two -- well, it was enough anticipated activity to make any grandmother's head spin. "This," I thought to myself, "is exactly why mothers are designed to be much younger than grandmothers!" I knew if this mini-vacation was going to work, I would need to begin by clearing my calendar, and greeting Benny and Emily at the front door with as many daily chores already completed as possible. With those two goals checked off my list, I was ready, willing and able when they arrived Sunday afternoon, to greet them with open arms and looking very much forward to our next four days together.
Within a few minutes of their arrival we sat around the kitchen island, each with pen in hand to make a list. My mother was known for her post-it notes. I, on the other hand, am totally dependent on my to-do lists to help me keep pace with all that needs to happen, will hopefully happen or has already happened. But Emily and Benny's list was no ordinary list--it was going to be a list completely filled with fun and interesting ideas, things to see and do, and places to visit and all, of course, planned with a budget in mind. Their imaginations ran wild, but we listed every possible thing we would enjoy doing during the next four days. We couldn't get to everything on the list, but there will be more opportunities, I have no doubt, and I will be ready. Thought other grandparents might enjoy taking a peek at a few of the ideas on our "Fun Things" to-do List:
Night walks--always a favorite, with flashlights, of course, even if it's not quite dark enough, yet, to use them.
Rock painting, or during Fall, pumpkin painting. Neither a rock, nor a painted pumpkin spoils very quickly and while the decorated pumpkin will last well into the winter season, the painted rocks will last a lifetime.
Tell jokes. Benny is the best joke teller, ever! Knock, knock. Who's there? Dishes. Dishes who? Dishes your friend! :)
Play Jeopardy! A handful of answers requires your grandchild to come up with questions, but remember to insist that they answer properly, using a the phrase "what is?" Somehow, that phrase makes this game all the more fun.
Start a collection. My oldest grandson, Jonathan, sent Benny a book to fill with State and other specially dated quarters and he loves going through a roll of quarters, looking for a particular year, or State. When no other desired quarters can be found, I simply make the roll complete, again, and take it back to the bank to exchange it for another. Emily likes acorn caps and pens.
Being an egger, or one who enjoys very much painting eggs, I have a stash of blown, sterilized eggs ready to be decorated at a moment's notice. They can be painted, or decoupage'd, stenciled, dyed or drawn upon with colored permanent markers and make beautiful, colorful decorations for the holidays. A basket of eggs painted with red, white and blue stars and stripes makes a beautiful centerpiece for any 4th of July celebration, and trust me, our family trees during the Christmas season have been known to nestle more than a few of our eggs.
Make a special dinner with a menu planned by your grandchildren. With a little guidance all four food groups will be represented. Just this once, use sprinkles instead of salt and pepper. Just a pinch, or two, of course, but the results will be colorful and no one will notice for even a moment if something doesn't taste just like mommy's. After all, everything tastes better with sprinkles!
It's hard to compete with all phones can do in this day and age, but if your grandchildren are young, as are mine, it's a lot of fun to purchase a disposable camera and let them loose. A scrapbook made during their visit will keep their photos safe and the memories of their visit, alive, for a very long time.
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Someone has noted on Facebook that if they had known how much fun it was going to be to have grandchildren, they would have had them first. I second that notion. My children are lovely, and I couldn't be happier with, or more proud of each of them, but undeniably, grandchildren bring another dimension of wonder, delight, and pure joy into one's life. Together, I trust we will continue to make lists, take walks, play games, share secrets, read together, and learn from each another for many years to come. Thank you Emily and Benjamin, for a most wonderful four day visit.
your Grandma Chris ...