The equation has forever changed. Sharon and I are no longer baby-sitting the grandchildren. At ten, twelve and fifteen respectively, they’ve moved past the need for constant adult supervision. At this stage in their young lives, Sharon and I feel that life experiences were far more important than material things.
When both families came to Palm Springs to celebrate Thanksgiving, the adults agreed that we would not venture out unless it was for something special. That worked out well for all of us, but especially the children.
What better way to acknowledge their growing up than to create a dorm-like setting for them instead of bunking with their parents. Sharon decided to take one of our bedrooms we labeled as the ‘purple room’ because of the decor and turn it into the ‘quiet room.’
We assembled six bunk beds, had new paint and carpeting, drawers for their clothes, a night light and a reminder on the credenza that this was ‘The Quiet Room’. It worked. When the kids hit their beds, they were out in minutes.
Then the experience chain began each morning when a different child was paired with an adult to make breakfast. That new tradition continued on for lunch and dinner. The kids were expected to set the table, lay out the dishware and help prepare the meal.
As a special treat, the kids then made four different types of candy for our guests at the third annual scripted-reading of a new play that Papa wrote just for the occasion. Each guest was given a box of candy as they left the performance.
For our thanksgiving meal, Nana brought out her finest china and crystal and the kids learned how to set a table; positioning the china, silverware, crystal, etc.
This year with one child in high school, three in middle school and one in grade school, Nana decided it was a good time for them to start thinking about college and how to prepare for it. So, she held a class in resume writing.
The lesson covered resume-writing, how to prepare for a test, how to apply for college, asking for reference letters, the question of academics vs. the arts vs. athletic endeavors. In addition, there was an assortment of other topics all geared to making them ‘think’ about how to prepare for college.
To lighten the pace, there was a lot of poker playing for skittles.
Our pool, once again, proved to be the highlight of their visit. The kids found dozens of ways to use pool pads, boogie boards and other toys for made-up games.
New this year were several remote-controlled speedboats.
Continuing a tradition, several family members ran in the Annual 5k Palm Springs Turkey Trot (three mile) race in downtown Palm Springs.
But the highlight of the week was riding dune buggies for all five grandchildren AND our own two kids.
Maya put a little video clip together to capture the excitement the kids felt flying across the dunes.
The entire week was full of activities designed to inform, educate, entertain, and draw family members together. It only happens once or twice a year and it’s a wonderful exercise in family bonding. We are all very fortunate in being able to do that.
As an added bonus, Melanie and Amy (the moms) took a lot of their own pictures. Here are some of their best.