It’s becoming an annual tradition. I pack like crazy for a week or so to get the girls ready for their 1:1 time with my parents. Last year, Kate and Kelly spent several days with them in my hometown of St. Louis shucking corn, eating blue berry cobbler and homemade ice cream and experiencing their first professional stage production of “Mary Poppins.” They stayed up waaay past their bedtime and ate ho-hos for breakfast. They skipped their vitamins and didn’t eat a lick of anything green (unless it was mint ice cream!). I missed them a tiny bit, but I was busy relaxing. I know, sounds like an oxymoron…Jim and I took the opportunity to head up to Michigan’s wine country, coming home with new vintages (also an oxymoron) and a little bounce in our step.
This year, it’s Michigan for the girls, home relaxation for us. I’m not sure what to do with myself. I like it, though. The house is eerily quiet. I can actually hear the aircondictioning blowing cool streams of air and my fingers clickety-clack as I type. I am thinking of taking myself to the pool. Agh…I know, don’t hate me! I may sit and listen to my iPod and read something that doesn’t have pictures. Maybe I’ll whip up some “real” food for dinner tonight. No hot dogs or chicken nuggets allowed. Maybe even something green and crunchy. Like a salad! Yes–with strawberries and poppyseed dressing.
I don’t want to make you mad or feel inadequate about your grandparent situation. In fact, most days of the year, it’s me and Jim and the girls day in and day out. My parents live 6 hours away. There is no opportunity to just drop them off at Grandma’s. There is no, “Dad, can you get over here in 30 minutes? I really need a break. These kids are wearing me out.” We hardly ever get babysitters, either. Too tired, nowhere to go in the ‘burbs except dinner and a movie–that gets old–and expensive quickly, especially when you pay a sitter $10/hour. So, I guess I sort of feel like I deserve it.
And you do, too! If you can, ask your parents to do them this huge favor of taking your kids for a few days. Even if they live in town. Make it a “Staycation.” Reconnect. Take long walks, have a picnic. Have a movie marathon. Do a few projects you could never do with kids underfoot.
It’s great for grands, too. They spend some great 1:1 time with the kids, getting to know them in more intimate ways than the usual hectic family holiday. The girls will make memories and bond in ways I can never imagine. They will take with them memories that are unique just to the four of them.
I admit, in some ways, I feel a little left out. But then I think of all of the moments and memories I make with my girls that my parents never got with them. And that really is a blessing.