Thursday, July 7, 2016

grandparents and the boys of summer, part 2

I suspect that we are not alone in trying to find ways to engage kids these days, besides letting them spend hours on electronic devices, playing Minecraft or other games. That is the first question they wake up with - can we go on iPads?

We go to the library to borrow books, asking the boys to take turns reading out loud for a while.  Landen chose a book about the San Francisco Earthquake and Fire.  Marcus started reading Lassie Comes Home to us, but got so engrossed that he finished the whole thing on his own.  Ethan loves books on dinosaurs and sharks, but has been practicing his reading with Dr. Seuss stories. 

We've taken advantage of children's movies offered by the library and the local movie theatres. Trevor Zoo is  a fun visit. Yesterday the boys went to Minnewaska with Al to swim. I have made lists of all the different short and long outings we might take with them and the schedules of local things offered on any given day. And then there is fort building in the backyard and art and science projects to try.

One of my favorite craft materials is cardboard tubes - mostly toilet paper rolls, some from paper towels or gift wrap.  You can see how Ethan and I used them a couple of years ago for some indoor exploration

This week I decided to take advantage of their love of Minecraft and invited them to make their own versions of monsters, endermen, etc.  They spent a couple of hours creating them, using tubes, straws, popsicle sticks, yarn, and tape.  I also found some small carpet and flooring squares at Home Depot that they've added to some of their scenarios. And since them they have spent hours playing with them, along with their Lego armies. It is so much fun to watch how they take simple recycled materials and turn them into hours of entertainment!

Monday, July 4, 2016

grandparents and the boys of summer, part 1

I haven't written a post for a long time.  It seems one thing after another has occupied my time - many pleasant or wonderful or necessary things, but nothing that I've felt compelled to share.  My summer occupation is something that might be of interest, however. 
Owing to various circumstances, we end up having two of my younger grandsons here for a good portion of the summer.  These are the boys, Marcus and Ethan, who moved away in January.  I have missed them terribly. We thought they'd come to visit us for a few weeks, but that has been extended.  And that comes with challenges.

I feel my age.  When you're young, you have energy for the non stop activity that is common to a 5 year old. At 71, not so much. I've tried to establish some built in rest periods in the afternoons - an hour when everyone needs to be quiet.  They can read, play with legos, take a nap - but no electronics, no movies. Once I've had this time to myself, I'm better able to handle the uptick of evening energy expenditures that seems to go on from 5 to 9:30 pm.

I am lonely.  My friends do not have young children.  Our socialization does not take place around kid activities. I feel cut off from many of the friends and events that nourish me.  I try to involve the kids in some of the things that are important to me - going to art exhibits that they might also like, exploring the natural world, visiting with friends who do enjoy kids. I do my meditations in short intervals - 5 minutes here, a 20 minute walking time there. Sometimes Al takes the boys out to a park for a few hours and then I get cleaning and a quiet meditation in. I am experimenting. I am remembering how it was to try to exercise and meditate and satisfy some of my needs when I was a young mother.  And I try to use these memories to increase my compassion for parents everywhere.

I find myself being envious - I think of people who have money to send their grandchildren to wonderful camps, who take fabulous vacations around the world, who might have things "easier".  But, of course, the minute you go there, if you are at all aware of anything, you have to get yourself off the damn pity pot to remember that you are very privileged.

These boys, and all of our grandchildren, are the loves of our lives.  We are very lucky. Some live close by. These two who are living away are here for a couple of months. How can we enjoy this gift?

That is the question that needs an answer now. I want to live into these days in a way that doesn't wish any of them away, but wants to be absolutely grateful for this precious time.

If you have any similar experiences and thoughts and insights - I would welcome them!