“I can’t wait to see you, Nana!” my grandson, Kodey texted me.
“Only two more days J” I texted back.
“I’m so excited!” he wrote.
Our two grandsons live halfway across the country from us. During their summer vacation from school my husband and I invited Kodey, 13, and Evan, nine, to come for a nice long visit. We were blessed to spend 28 days together, just the four of us.
Prior to their arrival I spent a good many hours researching adventures, big and small, to fill the month with memories. I asked for suggestions from parents at church, looked up “things to see and do” within a 90 minute radius on the Internet, and wrote down some activities I enjoyed as a child.
We accomplished a lot in four weeks! Rain and excessive heat curtailed our plans a few times, but that only inspired their PapPap and I to pull out our creative thinking caps (and PapPap’s card tricks)
Here is our list of the things we did during our grandsons’ visit:
- Cooked fun treats: Lego minifig chocolates, Jello Jigglers, sticky buns, and made-from-scratch apple pie
- Played with Lego building blocks—for hours and hours—constructing, pretending, crashing, and sorting
- Swam at the local pool
- Attended church together every Sunday
- Tried Geocaching
- Hiked long (seven mile) trails and short (three mile) trails at three nearby state parks
- Visited a local educational farm Walked two miles to the grocery store—and back—along a wooded path—twice!
- Cooked out—roasted hot dogs on sticks, toasted marshmallows and made S’mores
- Taught the boys to play several card games including 500 Rummy and “PIG”
- Viewed several family friendly movies online
- Went to matinees to see two newly released movies
- Played table games: Clue, Yahtzee, Jacks and Dominoes
- Visited Great-Grandma
- Watched fireworks at the home of friends
- Taught the boys to play Badminton
- Visited a railroad museum
- Rode a restored antique train
- Went to an amusement park
- Walked in the creek below our home
- Learned to sculpt Ivory soap
- Attended a children’s science presentation at the library
- Visited a butterfly house
- Attended birthday parties and picnics
- Helped prepare food for the homeless at a church mission
We packed the month! What did the boys seem to like most? Surprisingly, it wasn’t the rides at the amusement park or the newest movies. It was the activities that involved interacting with others and with nature, rather than being a spectator. Serving the homeless, playing badminton, feeding the butterflies, and carrying around my cousin’s tiny pup at a family reunion brought the most smiles and looks of wonder.
Would we plan an extended visit again? In a heartbeat! Would it be four weeks long next time? Probably more like two or three. Why? Though our grandsons never got bored or homesick, they naturally missed their parents and their pets, as well as several community events that they liked to attend each summer. That chunk of time away also prevented them from participating in any summer sports programs.
All of us also look upon our weeks together as an extra special blessing—a rare and never to be forgotten time. In years to come I can hear Evan and Kodey saying, “Nana, remember that time we hiked up all those steps to see the waterfalls?” or “Nana, can we make another apple pie like we made that summer?”
(Editor’s Note: If you have a GRAND experience you’d like to share, send to [email protected])