Summer Vacation

Posted by: admin
March 28th, 2011

Once again summer has gone too fast but as we do every year we caught the tail end and packed so many things into the last week that school will seem tame.  Perhaps a rest from the whirlwind.  Each January my grandchildren and I start the countdown to our summer vacation just as we count the days until Christmas.  We pick the last week before school starts to rent our perfect cottage so that we have longer to anticipate the glorious fun of those days and so those memories will carry us back to school and work feeling that we have truly had the perfect summer.

This year was no exception. It is not an easy feat to gather 20 grandchildren and their parents under one roof for a week.  I do know that it is fun and that each year it becomes easier. We have fallen into a relaxed routine  over the years and because the children are getting older they no longer need direction, they just do it. The bedrooms assigned the first year remain the same the 5th year.  Towels and swimsuits have their place. Shoes are left on the same mat outside the door and invariably lined upped in matching pairs by the 4 and 5 year olds learning to count. Inevitably one goes missing but even the hunt for the shoe becomes a game. We all shift gears. Not slow motion just calmness.  Grammy’s rules.  Only a few but known by heart by everyone: Everyone’s favorite music played during the day (we all got caught up in 3 year old Nicholas’ choice  “The Wheels on the Bus”); team work for chores so everyone can enjoy the beach and park; little kids in charge of big kids (In year 2 I learned this reversal of roles made the little ones stay with their older “partner”and they liked being in charge.  The older kids were great sports about being told to make their beds and brush their teeth before breakfast)  and finally, if you don’t feel like doing what the group wants, you don’t have to do it.  This one’s my favorite on those days when I am in the middle of a good book (but then I always volunteer to stay home with the  napping babies so it worked for everyone).  This year we decided the everyone over the age of 10 could stay up later and, without a parent, go to the pool or park or stay home and read as long as they wrote their name and where they were going on the dry erase board.

Our family worked as a team and won the sandcastle building contest, the chalk drawing exhibition and the scavenger hunt that were sponsored by the association where we rent. As 4 year old Vincie said “We’ve got to win cause we aren’t losers.” Thanks to a wonderful website called www.momsminivan.comthe trips to and from the lake were filled with fun travel games. This site has printable games for kids of all ages that keep the kids busy while riding in the car. Of course, singing to the radio or to CDs is always the best.  I honestly think I now know all the words to every Hannah Montana song.

Meals with such a large crowd would usually pose a problem but we have our assembly line down to perfection. The younger children set the tables. Grammy cooks. The Moms and Dads prepare the plates of those children who need help. The older children dispense ketchup, milk and any other condiments. Everyone clears their own place. Grammy puts her feet up and the Moms and Dads do the dishes.

One week is enough time for the cousins to enjoy each other and just right for everyone, including   grandparents, parents and children, to keep their sense of humor.  Rainy days are great for board games, painting pictures, playing beauty shop or simply walking in the rain.  I have learned after all these years that it is much easier to think up last minute fun ideas when you are singing and dancing.  Children have an endless array of ideas for fun things to do and with just a little tweaking, they are all possible.

If a week seems to long, try a weekend or even a full day devoted to family fun.  When everyone asks what they can bring, tell them “a sense of humor” and “a smile”.  Your grandchildren will always remember this time even if you only do it once.  It truly is a special gift.