I waited so long for grandchildren. But after the first, they came in rapid succession. The Lord blessed our family with five little boys who call me grandma. There’s nothing like getting together with them. Four boys belong to my son, and one to my daughter. The oldest, Christian, is only eight.
Those five boys are an energetic group. They all have a short attention span,but they can span from daylight to dark, into one thing right after another.
I usually have them visit one at a time. That gives each one special alone time with grandma, and I’m still somewhat sane by the end of the day. But this is special, it’s the Christmas season. The four brothers want to visit at the same time. Since I don’t have sound proof walls in my condo, I’m going to spend the night with them, at their place. This is different. My overnight bag doesn’t say, “I’m spending the night with my grandsons,” but it should.
Christian, Aaron, Micah and Casey meet me at the door, all excited. Parents can leave now. “What do you want to do first, grandma?” Aaron ask.
“How about we make Christmas cookies?”
“Yeah!” The boys agree. So we cut cookies in the shapes of bells, reindeer, and Christmas trees. Each boy gets a bowl full of icing in their choice of colors. We soon have red, green and yellow all over the table, and anything else within reach.
With the cookies finished we take a break, but only long enough to eat a few of their colorful creations. They’re all hyped up on sugar, I should have known better. I wash cookie crumbs off all four faces and forty fingers, then sit down.
“Let’s play Monopoly,” Christian says as he opens the board on the table. We buy and sell while exchanging plenty of pretend money.
Micah, the next to youngest, soon tires of Monopoly. “Now let’s play Go Fish.”
After a few rounds of cards I hear, “I’ll set up the Checker board.”
Checkers is Aaron’s favorite. Since it’s only a game for two, we take turns playing the winner. Before long they tire of Checkers, out come the color-books and markers.
“What color do you want, grandma?” Christian asks, so I choose blue.
“Okay,” he says, “I’ll use green.” We all know Aaron wants purple. Micah takes orange and Casey gets red.
Oh what fun we’re having. And I enjoy watching them, with a notepad in one hand, to write all the funny stuff they say, and a camera within reach. But all too soon I run low on energy.
“Let’s take a walk in the snow, grandma.”
“Let’s just rest a bit, I don’t have any energy.”
“Well then, get some!” I hear. If only it were that easy.
“I know!” I tell them. “How would you like to make some snow ice cream?”
“Snow ice cream? Well how do you make that?”
The first thing you have to do is get a bowl full of snow.
“Are you kidding us, grandma?”
“No, I assure them, “I’m not. I used to make snow ice cream with your Daddy, when he was little.” So they figure if it was good enough for Daddy, it would be okay for them.
They bundle up in coats and put on boots. Next come mittens and scarfs.
“How much snow do we need, grandma?”
Just heap the bowl up. But the most important thing to remember is don’t get any yellow snow.”
The oldest one, Christian, catches on right away.
“Oh, grandma,” he laughs.
Then he explains to his brothers that if a dog has visited the area, keep away. Go find an untouched spot. So I watch out the window and take pictures of the happy little boys. Casey tries to do everything his big brothers do.They search for clean snow and dip big spoonfuls into the huge bowl.
“Is this enough, grandma?” They holler.
“Just a little more,” I yell out the door, “fill the bowl right up.”
The boys step high through deep snow until they fill the bowl to the top.
“Okay, that’s enough.”
They come in with cherry cheeks, stomping snow off their boots.
“You guys did a great job, this looks good. Let’s put the bowl on the table.” Here, Christian, you can add the milk, not too much now, just enough so it will stir up to the right consistency. Now, Aaron, you can add 1 cup of sugar. Pour it all around, then mix it up. Here, Micah, put in 1 tablespoon of vanilla. Casey can help stir it up. How about some strawberries? Here, let’s put in a few bright red ones.”
Four little boys excitedly watch as our winter treat comes together. Everyone gets a chance to stir, a couple even try to sneak a taste. Out come the bowls. “Now don’t expect this to taste like store-bought ice cream,” I warn. “This is a special treat, made with love.”
Their eyes sparkle with anticipation for their home-made bowl of love.
“Yum, yum, this is good, no wonder Daddy liked it.”
All too soon, for them, it’s bedtime. Teeth brushed, everyone in pajamas, we head downstairs. I’m sleeping on a blow up mattress next to all of them in their bunk beds. They put on some music and want me to dance to Jingle Bells. Since I haven’t danced in over thirty-five years, my rhythm leaves much to be desired. All the boys start laughing.
“Grandma, is that how you dance?”
“Sure it is,” I tell them, “back in my day, this was cool.”
I wear out faster than they do. I lie down on the mattress. They all huddle close by and want me to tell scary stories, but I don’t want to frighten them so we tell jokes instead. We talk and laugh way into the night. I tell them to climb up into their bunk beds, but somehow, we just keep talking.
I wake up the next morning with one little boy, Aaron, lying crossways beside me, and three other little boys asleep on the floor around me. None of their bunk beds have been slept in. I sneak up and take their picture. The flash wakes the little sleepy heads and the day begins.
After a breakfast of chocolate chip pancakes, made by their aunt Tonya, it’s time for me to go home. With a notepad full of stories and a camera full of memories, I load my car. We all share hugs and kisses. Christian, the oldest one, hugs me extra tight and sends me off with a joyful heart.
“Grandma,” he says, “I love you and I can’t wait til you come back.”
I wanted to treat the boys to something special but I think this grandma ended up with the best treat of all.