For weeks, I’d been looking forward to a sweet time of bonding with my two youngest grandchildren: Max, 7, and Margaux, 5. Wonderful ages, such bright and lively children. I planned to collect as many precious memories as I could squeeze into three days. I coveted the time I would spend alone with them when their parents weren’t around to bother–I mean distract us.
Fantasy: First, I would interview them for my blog, making sure to record every cute and amusing answer they gave me.
Reality: After I asked one or two questions, Max informed me, “I don’t do interviews.” Margaux was a little more diplomatic. “Do we have to do this right now?”
Fantasy: I’d snuggle up with them on the couch or on their beds and entertain them with stories.
Reality: They don’t snuggle; they squirm and fidget and jump. They also don’t want me to talk while they’re watching loud Nickelodeon TV shows filled with stupid slapstick humor and canned laughter. [I can too say stupid if I want!]
Fantasy: We’d tell each other silly jokes and laugh until our stomachs hurt.
Reality: They told me one silly joke. Over and over. At one point, when I was pretend-laughing, Margaux pointed out that my teeth were a little yellow.
Reality: Margaux does not eat. Period. During the three days I was there, I think she had three cheese sticks, one apple Crusher, and two yogurt smoothies. I’m still not sure she swallowed. Max’s diet consists of nothing I could actually make, or if I could, I wouldn’t get it right. And he eats at the table with half his bottom on the chair, the other half on its way to a place way more interesting than the table with me. Then it takes a half hour to wipe up after him.
Fantasy: We’d enjoy the local children’s museum, and I’d purchase each of them an educational toy from the gift shop.
Reality: They did enjoy the museum. Yay! I had a hard time keeping up as they ran from one interactive display to another. At one point, I strongly suspected they were trying to ditch me.
Big surprise, there was nothing in the gift shop they wanted. So we went to Marshalls, where we found an ice cream play set for Margaux. Max couldn’t find anything he liked there, so we went to Walgreens for Pokemon cards. A part of me thought, “Should I be encouraging a 7-year-old in a card game where fictional characters are captured by humans and trained to fight each other to the death? A bigger part of me just gave in.
We also bought jelly beans and gummy bears to serve as toppings for their make believe ice cream concoctions. On our way home, Margaux spilled the jelly beans on the floor of my car. [I discovered a half dozen in my pocketbook today.] When we arrived home, Max dumped the sticky gummy bears on the carpet (a.k.a. “ice cream counter”). However, we did play make believe with the ice cream set. Over and over and over and over. Up until I told them I was lactose intolerant.
Fantasy: It is possible to be a fun and responsible grandmother at the same time.
Reality: Maybe not. I said nothing when they ate the dirty jelly beans and fuzzy gummy bears and even when they shared them with their father. [As the youngest of my three kids, I figured he wouldn’t know the difference.]
Fantasy: Planning makes for more fun.
Reality: Going with the flow works best.
Fantasy: I’m as young as I feel.
Reality: After three days, I feel every bit of old.
Fantasy: Next time it will be different.
Reality: No it won’t. And I wouldn’t change them for the world!
The Lord knows all human plans; he knows that they are futile. ~ Psalms 94:11 (NIV)
Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails. ~ Proverbs 19:21 (NIV)