They shriek, they scream, they thump around the house slamming doors having the time of their lives, while my wife and I just cringe and leave them alone. Grandchildren on a stay-over create havoc in the home, and it's worth every minute.
Happy memories fuel stories for future gatherings and happy family memories are the best of all.
We recently had two grandchildren planned for an overnight stay in our guest room. Their parents were throwing a party and the girls at ages nine and twelve were too young to attend. My wife Peg thought it would be nice to include them in an art project with her as I watched a football game on TV.
The morning of the stay-over we decided to include two grand twins (aged 13) in the art project. But after we got permission from their mother we altered plans and took them all to an afternoon movie first. After the movie we stopped at the grocery store for sausage, tortillas, and little potato cakes, and donuts for dessert. Each girl chose a donut and anything else they wanted in addition to the taco meal we planned.
At home Peg had the girls set the table, and haul out the art supplies. I think that was the last time anyone even looked at the art supplies. While I cooked, one granddaughter picked out songs on our baby grand, while the rest began building up joy and steam. Dinner was a success and then the girls disappeared for a couple of hours.
Peg and I watched TV and read the weekend papers as mayhem ran wild downstairs. Our daylight basement contains the master bedroom, a guest bedroom, a storage room, a bathroom, and a walk-in-closet-laundry-room. I think every square inch of the basement became a playground.
I only had to venture downstairs once to caution them that “doors are not toys. " Peg called down once on the intercom to ask if anyone was bleeding and then again after we received a phone call from someone who had received a crank call from our phone number.
When I went downstairs to turn in for the night, the girls all came upstairs for boardgames. At that time the original two guest grandchildren asked if the other two grandchildren could stay as well. The parents said okay. Once in the basement I began straighten up: standing picture frames back up, replacing items that had been knocked over, locking the door of my antique armoire, and plunging the now stopped-up toilet.
Fun and games continued for hours as I lay in bed reading and watching TV. Sometime after midnight, the kids migrated to the guest room to settle down themselves. Eventually, a weary Peg joined me in bed.
The next morning Peg and all four granddaughters were slow to respond to my wake-up call. The children were a little subdued, but in good spirits. We visited a Shari's restaurant for breakfast and then delivered the girls to their respective home. They had a fantastic time and there was neither permanent damage done to their bodies, nor to our home.
The art project never got off the ground, and the movie was only fair, but everyone had a nice time. There were no goals for the stay-over, nothing to really worry about, just fun to be had. Now, that is a successful family memory.
Don Doman is a published author, video producer, and corporate trainer. He owns the business training site Ideas and Training (http://www.ideasandtraining.com ), which he says is the home of the no-hassle “free preview" for business training videos. He is also a board member for Rotarians for Hearing Regeneration (http://www.hearingregeneration.org ) and is dedicated to raising 15 million dollars for hearing research.