This summer Granny Camps are being held all across America. Our grandkids are on summer break and activities with grandparents abound everywhere. Their parents certainly deserve a break. I’ve heard of grandmas who take their grandchildren for the whole summer. Most of us are able to provide a week or two. And that’s the best part of being a grandparent—you can give them all the love you have because you know at the end of “camp” they’ll go home to their parents!
I just hosted “Granny Camp” for my six-year old granddaughter and it was pure joy. At one point during the visit, Juliet said: “I wish I could live with you, Baba.” And why not! She was the center of attention; I said “yes” to most of her requests; and we got along beautifully because I knew it was only for a finite period of time. We had three playdates with other grandmas and their six-year old granddaughters; my house looked like an obstacle course after she rearranged every “knick-knack” in my house; and she got to go to bed an hour later than at home.
For breakfast one morning I pretended to be a waitress and told her about our “Jack and Jill Sandwich,” like her favorite restaurant serves. After I’d prepared the scrambled eggs and cheese on an English muffin, I sliced up two strawberries and fanned them out on her plate for garnishes. She was mighty impressed and devoured every morsel!
I loved the time we spent together. Juliet has an insatiable curiosity, a fabulous imagination, incredible energy and engages in constant conversation that usually involves questions. At the end of each day I fell into my bed exhilarated and exhausted after being “on” all day with her. During the time Juliet was here I didn’t get to read the paper, write any emails, or do my morning meditation and yoga. But I didn’t mind, because in the back of my mind I knew I’d be able to get back to my routine when she left.
These visits give me a lot more empathy for my daughter, who must be “on” 24/7. She also has the tougher job of setting limits, enforcing rules and routines, and saying “no,” which is something I rarely do. But I know this is not reality and if I were the parent, I would have to set much stricter limits. And this is the other great joy of grandparenting: I don’t have to be the disciplinarian. I also credit my daughter and son-in-law with doing an outstanding job of parenting, which makes my role as grandma so much easier.
So this Camp Director is happy to report that all went smoothly during our visit and my granddaughter is welcome back any time. Just give me an end date, please!