Grandparenting: Exquisite, Entertaining and….Exhausting!

All of our nine children, with the exception of our oldest daughter with her five children who live in Ogden, live far away. Some very far!  We have one family in Hawaii, another in London and two in Gilbert, AZ. One family lives in New York City and another in Washington D.C., another in San Diego and our baby girl who just turned 26 is in the San Francisco area. Seven of the nine are married and six are what we call “in production” which means that we have 23 grandchildren.

For some reason we keep getting speaking requests where they live and we jump at the chance to see them. For one reason or another, we get to see four or five of them every month. How lucky are we?  Still, these visits are just in and out and we yearn for more time with our grandchildren!

We do get all forty one of uf together for a reunion in the summer which is about to occur in about two weeks.  It is simply heaven plus chaos when everyone shows up!

We relish the opportunities here and there to take over for the parents for a few days while they get away from the day-to-day routine of caring for small children.  We love being with them in their own homes when their parents are around but the way we really get to know them and their daily routine is when the parents are gone….it’s just them and us.

Still, this week has been a nice little wake-up call when our son Noah and darling daughter-in-law Kristi granted us the privilege of taking care of three of their children for a week while they went back to the place where Kristi served as a missionary ten years ago….Latvia!

How splendid it was to really see the inside of delightful and precocious six year old Mckay who is about to lose his fifth tooth as well as lovely four-year-old Lyla who looks a little like Rapunzel with super-long gorgeous blond hair, knock-out blue eyes and a spectacular scream and darling two-year-old Cubby with the vocabulary of a six year old and easily destroys a clean shirt with mustard, water, sand and watermelon within 15 minutes of being dressed!  Although we had begged for the baby, they took him along.  After six days with these three, we must admit that they were wise.

This is the first time we’ve had kids for that long on our own turf. Usually we go to their houses to tend, but we thought it would be a “piece of cake” to take care of them at Bear Lake while we worked on the thousand things that needed to be done to open up our place there for the summer.

FUN…yes! Entertaining…to the max. Easy…not!  Even though I swore I would never forget how hard it is to have several kids, six and under….I did! Somebody is either hungry, hurt, needs to go potty, gets stuck, wants to “help” by putting a handful of dirt and rocks down the garbage disposal, wants something someone else has or needs to show us something amazing (which usually really is amazing))!

On the other hand they have kept us laughing for good and for ill almost constantly! The “pleases, thank yous and your welcomes” come naturally, especially out of the mouth of the two year old and we are amazed at how much they know and how well they can handle us!

Their creativity is incredible! Their mom left them with a new bag of large red disposable cups and they went right to work!  Below see one of at least twenty towers all configured differently.

McKay created duct-taped “earphones” which he decided would be perfect to drown out Lyla’s screams. For snacks there were grapes in one cup and crackers in the other. Pretty amazing!

In the garage, Cubby found his dad’s old hard hat from a tour of the Kennecott Copper Mine many many years ago.  Who would have thought this little guy would be wearing it someday?

Even though we didn’t quite get to all the things “on our list”, this week truly has been an exquisite opportunity to really get to know these three precious souls.  They are truly remarkable and the excitement just never ended!  But I must admit that even though we don’t usually go to bed until midnight or later, Richard turned in at 9:30 on the last night before we handed them back to their parents…with a pretty equal mixture of regret….and glee!

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