Saturday, July 11, 2009

Family vacations

Again, off the usual track, sort of . . .

We had a great time on our annual family vacation, but Grandma just keeps learning and learning. Consider, for example:

(1) When you are part of a big group living together for any length of time, it's wise to keep in mind that you might think you have found the best way to do something (like wash the dishes, or bait a hook, or serve food to a crowd, or whatever) but it's not wise to require that others do things your way. In fact, don't even make suggestions unless asked. Keep your mouth shut and your thoughts to yourself.

(2) You might have raised all your kids in the same household, and they might even all have the same two parents, but that doesn't mean they think alike. They might have very different ideas about parenting (just for example), or religion, or politics, or whatever. The wise grandma avoids stress by staying clear of these topics, and letting everyone do things their own way.

(3) If someone asks if there's some way they can help, be prepared with an assignment for them. DON'T criticize the way they do things and DON'T get upset if no one asks. It's just not worth it!

(4) Never miss an opportunity to listen to your kids or grandkids tell you about their lives. Meals can be simple, dishes can wait; nothing is more important than quality time with the people who mean the most to you.

(5) Watch the interactions between kids. We had quite a group this time - Ten kids between the ages of two and 19, not all of them blood relatives, and one who didn't really know the others at all before this trip. Kids are amazingly flexible and open to new experiences. I particularly enjoyed watching the older ones when they were having fun with the younger ones - being patient, doing some gentle teasing, finding pleasure in making the younger ones happy. Kids are great!

(6) It's perfectly OK, and even advisable, for grandparents to take an afternoon nap, or go to bed early. Vacations can be exhausting!

(7) Laugh a lot and be grateful for the moment. Try not to worry about all that could go wrong (I know, this is not easy! Grandmas are SUPPOSED to worry!) Enjoy!!!

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