I recently witnessed the activities of spring break guests at my small Arizona villa. Six adults, three children, and two dogs frolicked in the southwest sunshine and in my house. They slept in every available bed, ate a lot of food, and contributed to a continuous pile of laundry. Need I say I slept on the sofa? Everyone pitched in, yet loving chaos prevailed. The first inkling that the week was going to be challenging was the small voice coming from another room, “Nana, do you have any glue?”
I wouldn’t have traded the experience for all the geriatric vitamins in Arizona. Since this was my first all inclusive family gathering since I downsized to my retirement abode, I wasn’t prepared. By the end of the week, I was bone tired. And the house was, shall we say, in disarray. Next time I will be ready before the darlins arrive–thus, the creation of BOOTCAMP FOR NANA. Specifics below.
- START EARLY. You think you and your house are in shape, but you must face the truth. You and your house need intensive preparation.
- ENDURANCE. Begin by working your way up to eight hours of standing. Stand in line at the BMV. Waiting to get your driver’s license renewed will take about an hour. Next try a line at Nordstrom while waiting for the doors to open for their annual shoe sale. You’ll also find out whether your current shoes are comfortable enough after being on your feet for several hours. Finally, go to a museum and walk through every exhibit. DO NOT SIT.
- LIFT WEIGHTS. A one-year-old child weighs about twenty pounds. A four-year old weighs about thirty-eight pounds. The one-year-old will feel about thirty-eight pounds when you’re swinging her around to the tune of “Fly through air with the greatest of ease.” The four-year-old’s weight triples as she lands on top of you whilst resting on the sofa.
- EASE BACK INTO ENDLESS COOKING. Start by having friends for dinner once a week. Increase by one meal each week until you can, without fainting, cook a family pleasing meal seven days in a row.
- SERVICE YOUR WASHING MACHINE, DRYER, AND DISHWASHER. The hum of washing motors and swishing water will be constant. The first day will fool you. The towels are clean and hung for use, and your guests arrive wearing clean clothes.
- PUT AWAY VALUABLES. Nothing spoils a visit than grandparents and parents yelling, “Don’t touch.’
- PURCHASE GLUE AND TAPE. The earlier quote, “Nana, do you have some glue?” says it all. Well, there is the occasional “Nana, the dog is eating your book,” or a muttered “Oops.”
- ENCOURAGE THEM TO TAKE THE CAR TO EXPLORE THE AREA. This is when you can put up your feet so the swelling in your ankles subsides.
- TEST LOCKS ON BATHROOM DOORS. When Nana wants to take a shower, she wants to take a shower without an audience.
- YIELD THE HOUSE. Grandmothers of the world can’t avoid the disarray. The kids are more important. So what if they repurpose the bird bath to wash stones and pine cones? And celebrate the evidence of fun that you will occasionally find long after everyone is gone…such as some shoes that were used as fairy boats.
Proverbs 17:6 Grandchildren are the crown of the aged, and the glory of children is their fathers.