To Grandma’s House You Go

What special memories do you have of your time with your grandparents?

Our boys are fortunate. They have two sets of very loving grandparents that they will get to visit with this summer. The good news is the grandparents love them and are eager to spend time with them (and thankfully in good health), the bad news is the grandparents live far away. Both sets are across the country.  We decided this year, our boys are old enough to visit both sets of grandparents by themselves. Sending my boys on a plane without us is one of the most stressful things I’ve done, but I know they are going towards people that love them a lot and can’t wait to see them.

While concerned about them while they travel to see their grandparents, I also worry about their behavior (and what it will be) once they get there. Will they be on their best behavior? Will they act up (talk back to Grandma and Grandpa, whine, complain, etc.)? What will Grandma and Grandpa do if (when) this happens?

Grandparents vary, right? Some just want to love on their grandchild(ren) — give them hugs, take them places and maybe buy them things. They are happy to spend time with them in whatever form. There are others that want the time spent together to be more meaningful — teaching values, morals, life lessons, etc. One accepts the grandchild as they are. The other wants (or hopes) to mold the grandchild. Some grandparents are a blend of both, and others nothing like what I’ve mentioned above. Most grandparents though do share one thing in common: they love their grandkids.

In preparation for their first trip, my husband and I, assuming our kids would have their moments (e.g. they would ‘act up’ at some point), gave them some ground rules to help them (and their grandparents) enjoy their time together:

1. Don’t complain — if you don’t like what is being asked of you (wake up at a certain time, help with something, eat a new food, etc.) either a) suggest an alternative politely *or* b) just do what is being asked (arguing will just delay the inevitable and make everyone miserable)

2. Ask upfront for permission on screen time — grandparents want to spend time with you, not your gadgets. Grandparents are not unreasonable, so ask them what screen time they can live with. Determining this upfront will help with heart ache later.

3. Suspend bathroom humor — Grandma and Grandpa will not find it nearly as funny as you do

4. Have fun — there are so many neat things you get to do with Grandma and Grandpa — going fishing, swimming, eating ice cream, etc. — focus on what’s in front of you (the people, the place, the experience), not what you’re missing out on (e.g. another game of Madden Mobile or cartoon you’ve already seen a dozen times).

I am so thankful our boys have both sets of grandparents and can make memories with them. I know my boys will appreciate those memories much more when they are older.

Will my boys behave while their away? I’m not as concerned with them behaving as I am with both my sons and their grandparents appreciating the opportunity they have to share wonderful memories together. I know I treasure memories I had with mine.

What special memories does your child have with their grandparents? How are they creating new memories together?

March Madness and its Shining Moments

March Madness is in full swing with the NCAA basketball tournament starting this week. I couldn’t help but be taken in by the story of R.J. Hunter making the 3-point shot to win the game for Georgia State. It was what those of us who enjoy watching sports love–the underdog coming up with a win. What made the win that much more special was that R.J. is the son of Georgia State’s head coach, Ron Hunter.

Ron Hunter summed up the experience best in an article by Dan Wolken in USA Today, It’s unbelievable. I wish every dad in America could have that opportunity, what I just experienced with my son.”

Have you had a Ron/R.J. moment? Maybe not on the same scale or stage, but just as memorable? I can remember winning a race in a swim meet by tenths of a second with my parents looking on. I felt great about my accomplishment, but really appreciated being able to share it with my family. It made it that much more real. It’s a good memory we all remember. There were other triumphant moments too that weren’t sports-related–speaking in public for the first time (getting through it, and not passing out was a plus), and winning an unexpected award in a large setting (was both exciting and humbling). My parents being there to witness these events made them that much more special.

I look forward to experiencing my children’s ‘moment in the sun’. It might not be during a marquee game or event, but it will be their moment, our moment, and it will be something we’ll share for the rest of our lives.

What memorable moment have you shared with your child? What shining moment(s) have you experienced?

Soaking Wet

When was the last time you got into a water gun (or water balloon) fight? For me, it had been several decades, that was, until this week.

Each year, my husband and I encourage our boys to complete a math software-based program that includes upward of 200 assignments. The work that is not assigned by the school, but encouraged as an aid to help the student practice and hone their math skills. We think it benefits our children, so we have them work on it throughout the year. When they are done, we celebrate by letting them get something they want (within reason) to celebrate their accomplishment. This year, my oldest wanted a water gun.

When I was growing up, a water gun was small and made of see-through plastic. The water gun my son selected was large and had multiple water spray mechanisms. Water guns have come a long way since I was a kid.

Once my son had the water gun in his hands at home, he couldn’t wait to fill it with water and take it out the backyard to see what it could do. The minute my husband got home, my son determined a water gun fight needed to ensue. My husband had a different idea, he suggested the boys help him with some projects outside, and when they were done, they could have a water gun fight. The boys eagerly agreed.

It couldn’t help but smile watching my boys help their father out in the backyard, and it brought me great joy to see the water gun fight that commenced following. My oldest was relentless in getting his father soaking wet, and my husband wasn’t about to let his son get him wet without returning the favor. My youngest occasionally got into the battle, but was happy just to observe, like me. When the fight was over, everyone came back into the house. There was panting, and laughing about what had just happened. They were soaking wet, and I loved it.

I’m guessing we’ll have several more water gun fights in upcoming years, and think about how long it will be before my boys re-engage in a water gun fight once they are grown. I hope it isn’t as long as it was for me. I clearly missed out on having fun with water.

As an adult, what games have you reconnected with from your childhood? What activities do you do as a family that bring you the most joy?

 

Sum-Sum-Summertime

We have officially entered summertime. School is out, the weather is warming and thoughts of vacation are top of mind. There is a lot to look forward to.

I heard Surfing U.S.A. by the Beach Boys playing on television this past week. It took me back to my childhood, reminding me of all the memorable songs I associated with summer vacation and enjoyed during the summer months. The images it brought up were so vivid, and good:  BBQs, fireworks, trips (camping, or traveling by car or air) to spend time with family and friends. The memories remain strong, much like Christmas or holiday memories, I crave to have new memories as good as the past, maybe even better. But there’s no guarantee of that, and all I can do is look for the opportunities to enjoy the summer and actually enjoy them.

It shouldn’t be so hard, especially if I’m humming or singing a little tune. Summertime, summertime, sum-sum-summertime, summertime.

How do you plan to enjoy the summer with you family?

The Way, Way Back to School

I feel like I’ve been taking a trip down memory lane lately. Some college girlfriends and I started sharing stories after seeing an article about our alma mater in the news. We exchanged stories of silliness, and naivety in our younger years. We also shared our gratitude that we made it through our college years relatively unscathed. We all feel very fortunate.

Since having kids, at the beginning of each school year I’m reminded of my own experience, the joy and excitement of being in grade school, the dread and angst of middle school years, and becoming a young adult in high school. I think about my kids and their own experiences. I wonder what their memories will include. Will their experience be similar to mine? What memories will their school years hold?

As the school year starts this year, I’m flooded with memories, time with friends, surviving the difficult times together and celebrating successes. Sometimes it seems like school was a lifetime ago, sometimes it feels like I graduated yesterday. Interesting how time and your memory can do that to you. Preparing for school takes me way, way back, and my kids bring me back to the present. I’m hopeful for what the school years bring for my boys. I’m excited about what they will learn and how they will grow, and that I get to be a part of it.

How are you preparing for the new school year? How are you taking your own experiences and helping your kids benefit from them?