For five years now, Granddaddy (a.k.a. my Silver Fox) has been taking grandsons to an Auburn football game — first with 3 boys, then a couple of years with 4, now this year with FIVE. He has a gargantuan task, yet it’s one he embraces with his whole heart. They pile in the truck and drive for hours, arrive on campus and walk for miles, bake in the sun of the upperdeck, cheer until they’re hoarse, then drive for hours once again. Along the way, they make memories, laugh like crazy and eat at Waffle House, where, according to Sam “they give you free butter and syrup.” 🙂 In comparison, my job is a piece of cake.
For two of our children’s families, if their girls are allowed to visit, it means a free weekend for those two sets of parents. And, since those two girls have birthdays just 10 days apart, it makes perfect sense to celebrate here, get some birthday cash and spend a day shopping with Grandmomma (me!).
We put in some hard hours and literally do shop until at least one of us drops or until they spend all their money. Physically speaking, it’s an exhausting gig, but otherwise it’s pretty simple if we follow a few key principles. Entertaining pre-teen girls, after all, isn’t rocket science. 🙂
- Let THEM make the plan. They know which stores have the products they most want, and the kitchen stores or home decorating stores that I might prefer are NOT among them. It’s THEIR day, not mine. On second thought, it IS my day, too. I’m alive. I’m physically able to keep up with these girls, and they actually WANT to spend this day with me. What could possibly be better?
2. Tune into the radio station they request and be rewarded with sweet singing. In Birti and Megan’s case, the choice was WAY-FM, the Christian station, and they knew every song. What encouragement to my heart!
3. Allow them plenty of time to look, think and decide. This may be the most important point, and it’s a luxury that grandmothers have over their mothers. Their mothers have many plates spinning, simultaneously, every day. Their grandmother doesn’t — at least for this one day.
4. They get to choose where, what and when they eat. Even if grandmother is a travel and food writer and blogger with a cute restaurant in mind to suggest, on this day, their preferences trump my own. They were intent on continuing their shopping when hunger pangs hit. Understandably, getting in the car and driving to a restaurant when a perfectly good food court was within sight just didn’t make sense. The food court won.
5. Throw in a fun surprise. This year I suggested pedicures, and they loved it. No boring colors for them, though. Only the brightest and wildest. 🙂
5. Applaud their choices and admire the fact that they wanted to shop AND still have money left over. If they keep this up, they will have happier husbands in the future.
6. Savor the downtime moments. We got home in time for a dip in the pool, showers, then snuggling on the couch with pizza and the Auburn game on TV. Megan happily put her new Legos together, while Birti relaxed with her head on my shoulder. So nice.
Admittedly, younger granddaughters need much more guidance and supervision. With older granddaughters, you are lucky to get small snippets of their time and attention. Very lucky. Bear in mind that my EIGHT granddaughters range in age from 3 months old to almost 19 and a freshman in college. So, I’d say that these years between ages 10-14 are GOLDEN. I’m just glad to be a part of their lives at any stage.
Winning stores this year were at Parkway Place Mall and Target — Claire’s, Justice, Belk. Previous years have included Build-a-Bear and Bath and Body Works.
I’d love to hear what principles/suggestions/stores/activities you’d like to recommend, so I can begin thinking about next year.