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Sunday, July 19, 2009

A Visit With Grammie and Grampie

How often do you leave your kids with the grandparents? Do they ignore your rules about sugar, naps, or carseats? Is there a difference between your parents and your in-laws? The new Juice Box Jungle video on my right sidebar called "Grandma Says I Can" is about free babysitting from Grandma. . .and the implications that might entail in your family.

We just returned from a three-week visit to my parents' house. Now to some, this might sound like torture. However, our whole family had a wonderful time. . .and my parents did too! Unfortunately, my parents live over a thousand miles away, which amounts to two long days in the car, since flying our family of six is not fiscally feasible. We are not able to visit with them very often, usually only once or twice a year, so we wanted to make the most of it. Ted couldn't take that long off of work, so he was with us the first week and then flew home to work for two weeks and then flew back so he could drive home with us.

A few days after we arrived we left the girls with Grammie and Grampie for THREE nights while Ted and I took a vacation BY OURSELVES! We've only had one night alone since having kids, so we were very excited about this time away. All I can say is my parents are WONDERFUL. They embraced having the girls, even though my dad has been going through serious health issues in the last five months. We had been planning this time away since F was born last year, timing it for after she would be weaned. My dad finished his chemotherapy treatments at the end of June and has been recovering well from his quadruple bypass, and he was in great spirits when we arrived, though he looked VERY different from the last time the girls had seen him in December for our trip to Disney World. (F and I flew to visit them twice after his cancer diagnosis, but the girls and Ted hadn't seen him.)

So how did it go leaving four girls younger than six years old with my parents for four days? They had a great time! My parents took them to parks and let them swim in the pool and did crafts with them, among other things. I left some general instructions and shopped for food I knew they would eat well that was easy to prepare, but beyond that, I knew they would be in loving and capable hands. My sister was also there to help them out, and I know they appreciated her energy. But my parents were there every step of the way, my dad rocking the baby when she was crying, my mom the first to step up to change a poopy diaper. Did they eat too much sugar? I didn't ask. I know my mom loves to make desserts, so I'm sure they had plenty, but I eat too much sugar when we visit them, too. Hey, it's a vacation, right?!

After three weeks at Grammie and Grampie's, are my kids totally unglued and addicted to sugar? No. Will it take us a little while to get back into our regularly scheduled life? Yes. But it was a wonderful vacation and I wouldn't have traded it. We only wish we could have had MORE time with them. After we'd been on the road for several hours yesterday, I looked into the backseat to see H looking at one of the CVS photobooks I made of our trip. Her eyes and cheeks were wet with tears, though she was quiet. I asked her if she was crying, and she came completely undone, sobbing for several minutes that she missed Grammie and Grampie. When I called my mom later that night, she said that the house was SO quiet (after our "zoo" left?! You're kidding!). She said that she had wiped off the dining room table, but couldn't bring herself to take the leaves out to shrink it back down to a smaller size. It was sad for her to think that there wouldn't be a large family gathering there for dinner that night. I was sad, too. I wish we lived closer to them and could visit more often.

The cost of gas to drive to and from Grammie and Grampie's, hotel stays on the way there and back, a flight for Ted so he could work while we stayed for an extended visit, these all add up. However, the chance to have a vacation alone with Ted while knowing the girls and their grandparents were having a grand time together made it a blessing all around!

So what about you? Take a minute to leave a comment about grandparent relations at your house! What struggles have you had and how do you work them out? What non-negotiable rules do you leave with grandma? Do you have any funny grandparent stories you'd like to share?


DramaMama said...

I've left the girls with my parents for extended times a couple times now. My mom does spoil the girls some but I try not to fret over it. The girls love their time with Wita and Grandpa Ed so I try to be a little flexible with some of the rules that might get slightly bent. My folks are good about following instructions though. We have not left the girls with my in-laws though. I would be a little more hesitant about that. Another story. :)

Anonymous said...

My boys see my parents about once every 7 to 10 days. My mom tries not to let an entire week go by without seeing them. My parents made it to just about all of C's baseball games this summer. One bad habit that bugs me is my boys ask my mom for money and she gives them whatever change she has. Its one of those things she did once and they remember it, but she did that to herself. The in-laws we only see about every 4-6 weeks and they live closer.

We're hoping to take a trip this winter for our 10 year anniversary and I totally trust them with my parents.

Jessica-MomForHim said...

Krista said:
"I loved this update. one of my favorites... it is so wonderful to hear how blessed your family was down there and how much the girls truly loved the time they spent. I can only imagine how hard it is to be that far away from your parents..... Thanks for sharing though Jessica!"

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