I liken being a grandmother to participating on a relay team. Last Thursday morning, the baton was passed to me and I took my turn at a fast-paced, energy charged lap around the course…or maybe it was four laps…or maybe more like twenty.
The baton I carefully retrieved, were my youngest two grandchildren. Brooke and Jared had the chance to go to Washington D.C. for a long week-end, a business/leisure trip that was much needed. I was grateful to be able to step into my “Honey shoes” and prepare myself for a fast-paced four days.
While we had a few must do’s, most of our long week-end was filled with, what is now known as, our routine regime.
|Silly Time, a part of all of our routines!|
After attending a little soccer camp, we headed home, to Honey’s house. Here is where the steadfast, non-wavering regime begins. This little routine was never discussed, never thought out. There is no rhyme, no reason, for this set schedule, it has simply evolved into a routine that occurs every time they run through my front door.
Harper, beelining it into the house, heads for the dress-up closet. This closet is full of Brooke’s old dance recital costumes and all the tacky princess outfits I have been able to accrue. As she is racing through the house, Harper, looks back over her shoulder, “Honey will you please put on Pandora!” Harry, a.k.a Harris, immediately sheds all clothes. Down to his undies, Harry heads for the backyard. Grabbing golf clubs, baseball bats and all sorts of balls he is ready for action. Very quickly, the undies are down and Harry is finding a bush to proudly pee on. These are all hardcore, non-breakable routines that are consistent expectations when entering Honey’s house.
There are other regimes I will get to shortly, but let me pause here to dig a little deeper into the Pandora Radio thing. I know Brooke tunes into several radio stations, Disney show tunes, Christian children’s songs, Toddler Radio and Kidz Bop Radio. I quickly understood that Kidz Bop was at the top of the list. I spent four days listening to non-stop Frozen songs, lots of Taylor Swift, Katie Perry and oh so much more.
Harper, after changing into her costume of choice, heads straight for the cabinet full of colors and princess coloring books. There is usually a new book to fill, and Harper is content to color for hours. Multi-tasking is big with this little four year old. As she colors, she often pauses to become a cross between a prima ballerina and Tina the Pole Dancer (world renown Texas Tech legend). In her very own little world she transforms into Princess Elsa dancing her own choreographed version of “Let it Go” or Tina Pole Dancer comes out to dance to “Call Me Maybe” , “Hey I just met you, And this is crazy, but here's my number, So call me maybe.”
This once shy, timid child suddenly struts her stuff, twirling, arching, legs flailing, toes pointing. She is all about the dance and she knows every word to every song. Brooke, what in the world???
It isn’t long before Harry barrels through the back door. Still down to his skivvies, he leaps onto the large ottoman in the middle of my den and begins to gyrate singing at the top of his lungs, “This Girl is on Fire” or maybe even more dramatic, “Uptown Funk.” Nothing like a three year old boy singing naked, at the top of his lungs… “Girls hit your hallelujah (whoo)'Cause uptown funk gon' give it to you,” I could go on and on. After four days, I now know all of the lyrics of these entertaining songs…”Shake It Off,” Blank Space, “Hey Soul Sister”…I know every word and I’m singing them in my sleep.
Back to our routine regime. After dinner, while I clean up, Harper and Harris always play animals in the jungle. They love PBS “Wild Kratts.” Thanks to this enlightening show, they take on the persona of honey badgers, peregrine falcons, or other obscure exotic wildlife. Both children usually end up entwined between my legs/jungle vines, while I stand trying to wash dishes.
After dinner and a trip to Africa, we are off to the bath tub. Here Harper becomes Ariel, the mermaid, or a lovely dolphin, while Harry is always a whale shark. More water ends up on the bathroom floor and on me, but hey, what are bathrooms and bathtubs for? A quick tooth brushing, flossing (Brooke I never flossed your teeth), lotion application, p.j.’s and then…the much awaited…movie time.
I have purchased a library of my favorite Disney movies and I think this time of night might be more a highlight for me than for the H’s. Movies are discussed and one is selected and a mad dash is made for my bed. Lights out, movie night begins and a crowded and cozy bed is home to three eagerly awaiting movie watchers.
This week-end our movies were, “Jungle Book” (Harry loves to be Mobley) and “101 Dalmatians.” When “The End” appears it’s off to bed…well sort of. We go to “Harry’s room” for story time, prayers and a song. It then gets a little sticky. Harper has finagled her way into sleeping with me, so sweet Harris ends up sleeping in his room and the girl, sneaks off to my bed…nightly. A footnote and after much rationalization, I decided, that in a very short time Harper will no longer want to sleep with her Honey and therefore, it is up to me to make the most of our time together. Thus, Harper sleeps with me, and soon I have no doubt, they will both be in my bed.
By the time I get Harry to sleep, Harper is sound asleep in my bed and I have some time to wind down. Before I know it 5:30 a.m. hits and Little Miss Sound Asleep starts to squirm. Harper doesn’t fully wake up at this wee hour, but suddenly I feel an elbow in my face, a knee in my back and then her leg flops down over my body. I’m wide awake, but Harper is still sound asleep. Not wanting to start my day before the sun is up, I lay wide awake and perfectly still until Harris bounds into the room announcing that he is ready for “something yummy in his tummy!” Thus our day begins…again.
Another of our routine rituals is breakfast, the same menu every morning. Oatmeal, apple juice and waffles with honey. There is something sweet about routine. There is something safe about knowing what each day holds. There is something poignant about ritual and I am thankful to be apart of their routine.
This stay I decided we would begin reading “The Adventures of Winnie the Pooh” together. Winnie was always one of Steve’s favorites and A.A. Milne has always been a favorite of mine. Milne’s beautiful words of his beloved Winnie are so dear and precious. “Piglet sidled up to Pooh from behind. "Pooh?" he whispered."Yes, Piglet?” "Nothing," said Piglet, taking Pooh's hand. "I just wanted to be sure of you.”
“Some people care too much. I think it's called love.”
Oh how I hope I can instill this gift of words to these precious children!
Our four days flew by and before we knew it the children were back home in time for their Sunday afternoon naps. Putting Harper to bed, I knelt down beside her. I told her how much I had loved being with her the past four days. I told her how much I loved her and how proud I was of her. It was then I noticed a big tear running down the side of her cheek. “Oh Harper, why the tears?” Her reply, “Honey I wish you lived with us always.” Feeling a bit teary myself, “Oh Harps, if I lived with you always, then our times together wouldn’t be special.” She looked up at me with those big brown eyes and lovingly stated, “Oh Honey, but wouldn’t it be so special to live together always?”
I passed the baton back to Brooke and Jared soon after the children had drifted off to sleep. I came home to a house that seemed a little too quiet, a little too empty and thought of Pooh, “It's so much more friendly with two.”
I am thankful and blessed for this time with these children, for I know that all too soon both they and I will be too old for one another.
For what it’s worth,
Proverbs 22:6 “Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.”