It’s a routine that’s worked out very well in the past…even with a new member of the family. The parents leave town. Sharon and I come into town to take care of their kids, our grandchildren. It provides a wonderful one-on-one exchange, new routines for everyone involved, treats and experiences not normally associated with their everyday lives. It’s our chance to spoil them, teach them, train them and impart our collective wisdom of more than a few years on their malleable minds. The phrase I whimsically used to use was that ‘there was a new sheriff in town.’ That’s no longer applicable.
We’re no longer ‘the sheriff’ in our mind or theirs. Our Colorado grandchildren have grown so much over the past year and we just spent two weeks with them in London and Paris. By now they know the routine. It’s still our chance to bond, teach, inspire and motivate beyond what their parents already do on a daily basis. What has changed ’our routine’ is their maturity and expanded list of extra-curricular activities. From piano lessons to gymnastics to soccer tournaments, just to name a few, the kids are extremely busy and we’ve become the defacto chauffeurs, caterers, art teachers and card sharks. Oh, and I can’t forget ‘Cash.’ He’s changed the equation too.
Our first evening with the kids began quietly enough with piano lessons and then Spencer’s gymnastics lesson. We even had time for the kids to watch a cheerleading class held at the far end of the mats.
Samantha’s weekend soccer tournament probably took up the majority of our time and attention. Everything else had to work with or around those forays to the vast soccer complex in a neighboring community. Hundreds of brightly clad young girls and boys and their ever-present, over eager parents crowding the sidelines and shouting directions at the coaches and refs.
Samantha is on a great team this year and regularly scores several goals per game. That’s not just an overly enthusiastic Papa speaking either. That weekend they won the tournament and provided great entertainment. It wasn’t as stressful for me watching her play as it was when Brian wrestled in high school but it came a close second.
It was important to work our traditional garage-sale explorations into the weekend equation. The kids had to negotiate their own deals with the sellers if they wanted the collectables their parents weren’t crazy about having around the house.
As in London and Paris, there were the obligatory art classes with Nana teaching the use of alcohol ink, acrylics, and new methods of expression.
Walking Cash, the newest member of the family was a daily occurrence. This labradoodle is only the second dog I’ve ever liked. Then we were treated to several dog shows with Cash the wonder dog performing all the new tricks the kids had taught him.
Breakfast ritual with Nana’s world-famous chocolate chip pancakes.
No weekend visit from the grandparents would be complete without several games of Poker and Trash to learn the art of winning and losing.
Then a last minute Costco run found a special treat from Nana for our last dinner before leaving. While in Colorado we heard from the Minnesota duo who had just completed a twenty mile bike ride that weekend. All of our grandchild are avid outdoor enthusiasts. We are blessed with five very active grandchildren.
And, to be honest, visiting Colorado any time of year is a fun experience too.