There was an old woman who lived in a shoe. She had so many children, she didn’t know what to do.
Then she had grandchildren, lots of them, too! She asked herself, “Now… Oh now, what will I do?”
I have 27 grandchildren, who all live within 20 minutes of me, and 16 of them are girls.
I do granddaughter overnights!
I hosted my first one seven years ago for the six who were eligible, that is to say, potty-trained. I’m preparing to host the next one in a couple of weeks for eleven (or maybe twelve by then).
My format is simple. For dinner, it is macaroni and cheese with applesauce or vegetables and a simple dessert.
Next, comes a project or activity of some kind. One time it was a tea party, and each granddaughter took home a teacup and saucer. (My collection is embarrassingly large.) Another time we made videos and put them to music. Last time, we made candles. This time we are decorating composition notebooks!
Then we get into our pajamas and watch a movie–usually geared to the youngest granddaughter present. We stop halfway through for popcorn and then finish the movie. Finally, it’s off to bed.
In the morning, I make pancakes: plain, blueberry, or chocolate chip. At 11am, they go home.
Why do I do this? One reason is to create memories. Great memories anchor identity. Another reason is to give these wonderful daughters of God a unique chance to interact with one another, to be part of an extended family of faith. A third reason is to learn about exercising the virtues, chiefly the virtue of charity. The older girls help the younger ones without even realizing they’re doing it. For instance, watching a “little kid” movie with a younger cousin or sibling on her lap. They all camp out on the floor in various rooms of the house, and older girls take younger ones into their care: “If you need to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night, just wake me up, and I’ll take you.”
The best of it is now that the flow of charity is there, I don’t have to make it happen.The older girls do it themselves. I might have to facilitate it once in a while, but mainly, I’m just a proud observer.
I love these times, and I hope my granddaughters remember them long after I’m gone.
Mary Miklosovic has 27 grandchildren and lives in Ypsilanti, Michigan.
Copyright © 2016 Grandly – The Strategic Grandparents Club.