By Guinn Sweet
It is an unsolicited (usually) experience to be weeklong hosts to grandchildren who are on “spring break” from college, high school and middle school all at one time. I have just survived this experience (I thought to call it pleasure, then thought about it a bit more) with some good feelings about my second generation. Don’t get me wrong, they still acted like teen-agers at times, even the college kids.
My youngest daughter’s son, L.J., is probably the closest of all my grandchildren, by his choice. Certainly not my most loved, because my grandchildren do not fall into a “most loved” category, but instead they heavily populate the category of “equally loved.” L.J. is closest because he has made his physical presence closest over the years. Well, another reason he has been close is because he loves to camp out and we live in the country where there is room to do so cheaply, and because the bathroom is so close under these circumstances.
Speaking of the bathroom, this is one of the areas where we have to stand in line when he brings others with him for his campout. But it is only one. He prefers to prepare his own meals – to save me the trouble, he says – but I think it is really because I do not fix meals to his taste, i.e., burritos, chimichangas, homemade soups, French fries, hot dogs and toasted marshmallows.
The population crush in the kitchen only involves the two of us, but the mass at the table is almost insurmountable. My kitchen table only seats four, so we have to move to the dining table to make room for all six of us. That is not too inconvenient, but it does expand the clean-up area. I have suggested that he take his “camp meals” to the camp area, but that does not offer the convenience he likes. It would offer me, however, the greater ease of kitchen care.
Although they have food preferences just mentioned, they have no compunction to raiding my refrigerator/freezer and help themselves to our ice cream supply. Nor do they shrink from slicing slabs off my smoked pork sirloin to make a between-meal snack/sandwich.
Another crush occurs when conflicting television schedules arise. There are certain programs that I must follow, both daytime and nighttime. My day is incomplete without the various judge programs, of which Judge Judy is premier. There also comes into play “Apprentice” vs. “Reaper” in the evening. We have two TVs, but one gets a wider range of stations than the other and that causes the problems. I don’t really appreciate the solution of flipping a coin to make vital decisions like this.
I can’t understand why a bunch of teenagers on spring break, who choose the rustic life, would want to be stuck in the house watching TV! Maybe the burn ban has something to do with it, but with all the recent rain it was terribly difficult (and one evening became downright impossible) to prevent an open fire for roasting hotdogs and marshmallows. Another issue dealing with the burn ban arose when they started out of the house, laden with fireworks.
Colon and I have almost ritualistic times of certain activities that are sometimes displaced by the visitors. One is our daily indoor exercise on the treadmill (me) and the Handglider, or the ”horse” (Colon). It’s really agitating to line up for these important activities. This past week, we moved the use of them to times when the kids are monopolizing the bathroom (and vice-versa).
There is one ritual we have found to have preference for us, and we are enforcing a joint participation, mainly by mentioning that they are at our “campground” at no expense to them. We have Bible-reading time, daily.
The best part of the week was when we corralled them and read the Luke’s declaration of Jesus’ final week in Jerusalem before His crucifixion. They listened as we read of His revelation of love for his followers, His continued progress to the cross, how He had the cross placed upon his back.
We read of the criminal at His side who asked that he be remembered by Jesus, how our Savior assigned his Mother’s caretaker, and the final disrespect when He asked for water and He was given vinegar instead.
We also explained the forgiveness that He provided us at His death, because we were aware that two of L.J.’s guests were not Christian. I pray that they will consider accepting that extreme sacrifice as a personal gift to them. If they stay through Sunday, we will take them to church. What a way to end the week!
By Guinn Sweet