Friday, November 18, 2016

Grandparenting Taken to a Whole New Level

My Dad's parents were already in heaven before I was sent from heaven to earth, but I had the most precious grandmother and grandfather (my Mom's Mom & Dad). My grandmother's claim-to-fame in my books, is that she introduced my husband and I when we were just 13 and 12 years old. Her words were "Ronnie Wuerch says he likes you". My reply was "Tell him I like him, too!" From that point forward, we were destined to be together forever. I loved my grandparents and they loved me so much -- their prayers for me are still working. Their love for God and His Word had such a tremendous impact on my life. As precious as they were in my eyes as a young child, I never knew that "hands on" grandparenting. . I didn't even realize I didn't have it, until years later when I became a grandparent. When our grandparenting time came, we knew we wanted an "up close and personal" relationship with our grandchildren. So from the get-go, we set out to be those doting, over-the-top in love in words and deeds. Way before my first grandson was born, I had a "Hope Chest" of toys, puzzles and books.....that would be at Papa & Nana's house. In fact, to this day, I still have the old Nintendo 64 controllers and games. I still have their favorite book "Barbapapa" and I still have the Lincoln Logs and Legos. They all know they'll find those "treasures" at Nana's house!

If grandparenting hasn't become a part of your world yet, before long, it just may be and my best recommendation to you is to get intimately involved in their lives. While moms and dads are no doubt the greatest influencers, grandparents can come in a close second. We always wanted our grandchildren to know that we pray for them, stand ready to be there for them, and to support them as best we could, given though the miles that may have separated us. I'm, by no means, wanting to be dishing out a guilt trip to anyone that doesn't have that "bent", but I assure you, there is nothing to compare with that precious love. There is nothing sweeter on this earth than to hear "Nana, I love you so much!"

This post today was actually inspired by a sweet grandmother that saw my post yesterday, where I was sharing about the treasure hunts I've provided since all of my grandchildren were little. It's been "Nana's tradition". The treasure hunts end at age 18, but I remember my oldest grandson's dismay when on his 18th birthday I didn't have the treasure hunt ready to go for him, and when I saw that pout, I went into "turbo charge" mode to get it together. LOL! That FB grandmother asked me about those treasure hunts for her grandkids, and rather than just telling her, I share it with you, too, .......just in case......

~ Nana's Treasure Hunts ~
What's Needed: creativity, some extra time, rhyming ability (use the internet -- great for helping us find words that rhyme -- like "Go to the Rose Garden where it smells so sweet; Did I tell you....you have smelly feet?"), pick out places to hide the clues -- the younger they are, the easier the places and when they're older, it really is about "search and rescue", a birthday card that starts the treasure hunt with a clue, notes that have the clue on them and put in a box or envelope -- oftentimes with a bow attached that makes it easier to find in a tree or behind a rock, etc.)
Let the Treasure Hunt Begin:
~ Child opens card -- if younger, an older sibling or parent reads the clue and the fun begins. Note: be careful to not let the older sibling help too much -- it's all about the birthday boy or girl to know it's THEIR Treasure Hunt to find. If they're having trouble with finding the clue, it's okay to provide extra verbal clues along the way.

~ I usually have about 6 to 8 locations with accompanying clues that lead to the final clue and the BIG TREASURE (really not all that big, but it's the birthday gift from the grandparents instead of that gift just being among the mix of all the other gifts the child is given on their birthday.)

~ Simple, but memorable and that's what I'm into. Memorable for them AND me. I sometimes spice it up by using a golf cart to drive them around (that was easy for me living in a 55+ community) to find their clues. Also, sometimes I start the hunt with a theme, like a couple of years ago on Bryson's birthday, the theme was "What does the fox say?" If it's raining -- treasure hunt is in the house. If it's dark, have clues stationed closer to home and use flashlights.

~ Here is a sample of the clues used at my oldest grandson's 9 year old birthday (14 years ago) -- yes, I'm an archiver -- gotta' hang on to the memories! LOL!

Braden, Braden, You’re Our Man
If you can’t find this, no one can!
Now that you’ve been fed --
Your next clue you’ll find in Payton’s baby bed!

One, two, three, four,
Braden’s birthdays have numbered more,
Five, six, seven, eight,
It’s time to celebrate.
Braden is a great big nine.
Oh my goodness, He’s so fine.
Go look inside the washing machine!
You’re next clue may be green!

Where oh where has our little boy gone?
Oh where oh where can he be?
With his eyes so big and his legs so long!
Oh where oh where is he?
And where is the next clue?
Try Papa’s closet - near his shoes!

Braden & Barrett sitting in a tree,
Counting apples - one, two, three,
Up comes the doctor, Up comes the
nurse, then comes the lady with the
alligator purse! Purse?????
Look in Nana’s closet by her purse!

I love you. You love me.
We’re a happy family.
With a great big hug and
a kiss from me to you
Look under the table where
you chew, chew, chew!

Braden Cole is so cool!
He’s the best when it comes to school!
He’s kind and sweet to everyone!
That’s why we think he’s so much fun!
Now look by the tree in the big backyard!
That’s where you’ll find the very last card!

NOW -- go out there and make a difference in your grandchildren's world. Be silly and energetic and bring wonder to their eyes and hearts with your love that makes them feel so happy you're in their lives. I promise you -- it will be worth the effort!