Grandma’s Chaos and Quiet

Toy carThis Grandma’s home is comfortable for two adults.  This spring break the occupancy went up to a crowded eleven.  Everyone came into town.  We had wall to wall children and grandchildren eating, sleeping, and playing in a space built for two.  Somehow, it works.  Fortunately, we spend a lot of time outside in Florida.

Grandpa said the grandchildren were old enough so we did not have to put everything away anymore.  Our youngest grandson is just two.  I turned to Grandpa and said, “remember the saying, ‘terrible twos?'” We proceeded to remove everything. For some reason, we always forget one item within a two year old’s reach.  It astounds us that he walks in and immediately goes for the one item we miss! We cannot figure this out.

We also forgot that if one toilet seat is not put down, we find the two year old playing in the toilet.  This visit was no different.  He was able to fit all his small trucks and cars in one toilet until he was caught.  He is like lightening.  We just know that if any adult takes his or her eyes off this little one, something will happen.  But the joy of the little voice calling your name and taking you by the hand to the kitchen for just one more cookie makes your heart melt.

Of course, this Grandma got each grandchild his or her favorite cookies, candy, snacks, drinks, and ice cream and ice pops.  There are literally six kinds of yogurt requested but it seems only the M & M yogurt was gone.  Trips to the supermarket are a daily occurrence. At least now the nine year old comes along–and finds at least two more varieties of snacks he wants.

Dessert first, middle and last happened on this trip.  We had to clean out the refrigerator and freezer somehow.  Yes, we ate healthy too.  We made chocolate covered strawberries!

It is this Grandma’s view that it is the parents’ job to teach nutrition and this long distance grandma’s job to spoil as much as I can.  After all, weeks go by In between visits for them to work off the calories.  We swam and played and sang and danced and did yoga, of course.   If I did not join in I would gain more than the typical five pounds I gain a week long visit.  I cannot let them eat alone and my mouth is closer than the trash for half eaten cookies.

I really showed my short order cooking skills this trip.  One breakfast one grandson wanted scrambled eggs, another fried eggs,  another and granddaughter French toast and the adults got their choice of the three.  Everything, including the bacon, which is the only breakfast food the two year old seemed to eat this week, was ready at the same time! I knew there was some reason I kept four frying pans!  I was very  proud of myself.

The best part of never saying no to grandchildren is, when they get older, you can explain they can never say no to you either.  This is the best reciprocal deal and works as well for extra huge and kisses as cleanup.

The time flies by so quickly.  There is exhaustion from chasing after and with grandchildren.  There is exhaustion from trying to keep some semblance of clean and order–just so no one hurts them self falling over toys.  We always seem to give up trying to keep order halfway through the visit and just live with the chaos.  That is when we have the most fun.  We repeat–all of the adults do–how we cannot believe large families do this every day of their lives!

This grandma starts getting pangs when the end of the visit is near.  I take more and more pictures just trying to memorialize what we have together–the love, the joy, the fun, the caring.  Seeing the cousins close warms my heart.

Time does fly by.  These times  the entire family can share are too few in the hectic world we all live in.  This grandma wishes she could have this brood together more often but appreciates what she has.

When the grandchildren leave, you would think cleanup would begin.  Yes, we donate the leftover perishables that the grandchildren cannot take home when their parents protest.  Yes, we donate the toys and supplies they cannot use for a next visit as they will have outgrown that stage.  Yes, we store everything else for the next time.

But, there is one grandma quirk grandpa has learned to live with.  This Grandma cannot wipe the grandchildren’s fingerprints from the windows, the wall, the doors, the  furniture.  Fingerprints must remain for at least two weeks.  After two weeks, thank goodness for Mr. Clean Magic Eraser Extra Power.  When everyone has returned to their northern homes, in the quiet of our home, I can still walk around and smile.  I see our four precious grandchildren in the different sized fingerprints they have left behind.  As my eyes well with tears that another visit has ended, I know that they are tears of

Joy,

Mema

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