I had the pleasure of having two of my grandsons over for a sleepover this last Sunday night and then I watched them on Monday while their parents were at work. I forgot how much energy two young boys have, but what a joy it was to spend this time with them. To be able to see the world through the eyes of my grandchildren is a rare blessing that I am so thankful to get to do from time to time with all of my grandchildren.
To open the door on Sunday afternoon to two over joyed boys that thought they had won the lottery to be able to get to do a sleepover at grandpa and grandma’s house. To being greeted with great big bear hugs and kisses warmed my heart. Then they both started talking at the same time, a million miles a minute at all the things they had planned to do in the next 24 hours. Of course there was the bubble bath in the over-sized jetted tub, with the over-sized rubber duck toys that grandma has been collecting since my children were little. There was the playing with the large Tonka Trucks and bike riding, and feeding the horses, and watching Netflix movies with popcorn and hot chocolate for breakfast, and working out in the garden helping to weed ( a chore for us adults but a fun game to see who can get the most weeds for the grandchildren) and playing Wii baseball and golfing, and board games, and logos, and a picnic lunch out on the deck overlooking the valley and their list went on and on, until I reminded them there is only so much this old grandma and grandpa can do in a 24 hour period, and let’s not forget we need to squeeze in a few hours of sleep. Needless to say they manage to fill as much as they could fit into the time they were here, so much so they both fell asleep on the drive to take them back home to their parents.
This made me stop to think about the things I looked forward to when I went to visit my grandparents as a child. My father’s job with the Marine Corp kept us living far away from our extended family so the visits in the summer were our rare chance to enjoy time with our grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins. My maternal grandparents lived in Southern California not far from Disneyland and the beaches. My paternal grandparents lived in a small southern Idaho valley town that has had six generations of our family living there since the late 1800’s. So while we looked forward to visiting both set of grandparents, the experiences we had at each place was very different and yet left cherished memories for me to look back at in my now Golden Years.
At my paternal grandparents the Danner’s, my father has one brother, with four children and there was six siblings in my family, so between all us cousins we had lots of fun. We would go camping and fishing up at Lake Cleveland. We would ride around the surrounding areas while we were told stories about our family and what they did to settle this area. There was always at least one night that all the cousins would put on a variety show for our grandparents, and parents. We would sing and show off our musical abilities and some silly made up skits. We did whatever our imagination would allow us to do.
At my maternal grandparents, my mother has one sister and two brothers who each had lots of cousins for us to play with. Grandma Smith made the best homemade bread and scones and I am pretty sure she would time it that her bread was in the oven baking when we arrived to the sweet aroma of her bread to welcome us for our visit. I remember being a child of the 1960’s thinking my grandparents had to be rich because they were the only ones I knew who could afford a “Color” TV, all the rest of us had 19” black and white TV sets to watch. I thought it was so lucky that our summer vacation in 1969 happened to be timed when we were at our Smith grandparents to watch Mans first Moon walk on their color TV, and to make it even that more memorable for me was grandma’s homemade milkshakes. Life was so good anytime we were at our grandparents. We always had big family picnics to the park with a family baseball games. The fun and trouble us cousins always managed to get ourselves into was priceless and are the stories we enjoy retelling every time we can get together.
My childhood seems like it was only a few years back, and yet here I am 50 plus years later and I am the grandma looking forward to any grandchild visit, and hopefully making some childhood memories they will cherish as much as I cherish my childhood memories. Some family traditions I try to carry on, and creating new traditions too. Some traditions are planned and some just happen in the moment. One new one might have happened on my grandson’s sleepover. My mother in law had this cute “World’s Greatest Grandma” statue that was given to her by one of her grandchildren, which ended up at our home after her death. I had it on a bookshelf in our home office by the 8×10 photos of my husband and my mothers and our grandmothers. Ezrick, my six year old grandson found it cute, and kept moving it to different places, like my bathroom counter-top, on the stove, or other places that he knew I would be going and would see it. It became a game of “Where is the Grandma” that he and I started to play. Then when it was time for them to go home I had them clean up and put the Grandma statue back where she originally had been, by the grandmas’ photos. Yet, when I came home and got on my computer there sitting on my desk lamp looking at me was that Grandma that my grandson had left me.
Yes, it’s a simple gesture, but one that melts this grandma’s heart with joy and love. Traditions do not have to be big ones just ones that take us to that place where we say “Thank you God for allowing me to be part of this family.”
My question for this week …. What old and new family traditions do you have?