My childhood fun memories include backyard baseball with trees and bushes for bases and the time mom hit a home run. Relatives came for birthdays and baptisms. There was hand-cranked homemade ice cream and games like Spoons, Scrabble, Hide n Seek, and Rook. We even created a version of Battleship called Find My Animals to fit our values of peace, nonresistance and aversion to war. I learned to play hard, compete passionately and enjoy my family. Our quirks and idiosyncrasies blended into a smoothy of teamwork when we played together.
As Mom, I created space for leisure with my kids. We graduated from Candyland to Checkers and Aggravation. We played I Spy in restaurants and Hide the Whatever in the Living Room. There was time to read stories and take picnics to the park. Ever on the lookout for new crafts to create, I oversaw many projects and gluing sessions. On rare occasions we'd borrow a movie from the library to watch together.
Now I plan play dates and overnighters with the grandkids and oh, what fun! Like this:
We.Are.Almost.Ready! Papa carries the kindling to the backyard firepit and sets the serving-table- plywood piece on its saw horses. Five lawn chairs await occupants, hopefully sitting on the non-smoke side of the fire site.
Croquet wickets decorate the yard. Nerf guns lay on the porch. Inside the food is laid out for willing hands to pick up and carry outback.
As three beautiful youngsters, aged 11, 9 and 6, unroll from the family vehicle, we greet them with hugs and kisses. Their parents drive away and we catch up on recent activities, lost teeth, and the latest bug bite. The croquet game is soon underway. Papa helps the youngest with her swings, but she quickly tires from the effort. We continue the game while Rebecca chases butterflies.
After the game, someone spies the nerf guns; supper will wait. When the food has finally made it to the makeshift table, the fire is ember-burning perfect for roasting hot dogs. Later s'mores are assembled after the appropriate amount of flaming marshmallow torches and sticky finger licks.
Dusk is creeping into our fun. Mosquitoes viciously launch their attack. Papa quiets the coals while the kids and I grab food items and croquet equipment and head indoors. Someone soon begs to play the hide-an-object game so we vacate one room and wait in another for the signal from the hider that the hunt is on. After "hot" and "cold" guidance a finder locates the hiding place and shouts victory.
Our go to game is Uno. It affords enough competition for, Aubrey, the oldest grandkid, while being easy enough for Rebecca to play. Even Papa and I are entertained. After several rousing rounds of this favorite, it's time for P.J.s and a movie. While the kids change clothes, Papa stirs up a batch of stove-popped corn.
We usually argue about what movie to watch. The kids have already seen most of the family movies on Netflix and siblings object to the idea of watching the umpteenth viewing of "Frozen" which Rebecca smuggled along in her backpack. (I don't remember what movie we actually watched that night but since then I've done some homework and our next movie night will give us some wonderful options from Pure Flix. We can try a month free subscription to Christian movie company, Pure Flix. This streaming network offers a host of family friendly movies and most of the descriptions allow me to see what themes are in the movie and what age it is recommended for. I think we'll start with Angel Dog which seems to have enough interest for all three kids, age wise, and not too girl gender heavy for Shawn. Besides three dogs live with them, so they are definitely dog lovers.)
Finally, the house is quiet and Papa and I fall into bed. Our bodies are tired, but our hearts are full of grandkid joy. We nestle in for a good night's sleep, knowing there will be no snoozing in when morning comes. Our assembly line for mixing and frying up our traditional pancakes will officially start when the first footsteps scurry downstairs.