Last week Lydia stayed at our house while her parents took a week away to celebrate their anniversaries disrupted by Covid (#ten and #eleven) as well as the one coming up in May (#12).
This was the first long sleepover for Lydia at our house. A few years ago, we did Grandparent Camp with Owen and Julia, and Lydia always wants to do things her older cousins have done.
Our first day was full of excitement on all sides. We picked up Lydia from Chesterbrook Academy
The first place she wanted to go was the Treehouse Playground, a fabulous attraction less than a mile from here. She was happy all evening. We played three games of Go Fish. Then it was time to brush teeth and read books in bed. Lydia said she missed her mommie, but she was not distressed. She made a book to take to Miss Josephine, her teacher, the next day.
On Tuesday we went to Wegman’s after school and ate in their restaurant. We played more Go Fish. Lydia got to watch PBS Kids. She was homesick for her parents at night.
Wednesday we went to feed the ducks in the Lititz Springs Park, but Lydia had to go to the bathroom, so we left in a hurry. We had dinner at The Owl’s Nest on the campus of our retirement community. Lydia enjoyed the grilled cheese and french fries, as usual, and she was sometimes able to participate in the adult conversation with some of her favorite people, Jeanette and Herman.
I had a brilliant idea that turned out not to be so brilliant. “Do you want to do FaceTime with Mommy and Daddy?” Instead of the sweet reminder of her most important connections, the call made it all too clear that they weren’t really in the room with her. There were tears. The calendar with its Xs for each day already gone was only a small consolation.
Wednesday, however, was a true “hump” day. After she woke up on Thursday, Lydia popped out of bed, cheery as always, and she never looked back. Thursday was dance class day. I went to get her from school earlier than usual and helped her change into her tutu. Then I had to find the studio in a maze of other buildings. Lydia helped. I loved watching the fifteen little girls parade into class and strap on tap shoes and then trade them for ballet slippers midway into the 45 minutes. When we got home, Lydia demonstrated her favorite dance to Granddad.
Friday was another fun day, the last school day. Granddad picked Lydia up and took her back to her favorite playground, the treehouse. Lydia played hide-and-seek with a crowd of older kids and jumped onto the zip line with ease. After dinner, we broke out a new game, No Stress Chess. (I added this game to our collection after Laurie Buchanan said her granddaughter loved it.) Lydia moved her pawn in front of my king and waited for a card to tell her she could move the pawn again. She did, and she captured my king!
Saturday dawned sunny and windy. It was the final day of Lydia’s stay. Time to go to Target and give her a chance to choose a gift. She had filled in all the stars of her chore chart and was eager to enjoy the fruit of her labors. She admired some large, expensive, items that we had to explain were not in our budget. She was delighted that she got a free Easter bunny stuffy when we bought three greeting cards. Since the stuffy was free, it was a bonus gift.
The item Lydia chose was a toy waffle maker.
We spent the rest of the morning making “waffles” and decorating them with the sprinkles and “whipped cream.” Then we drew welcome pictures on the sidewalk with brand new chalk.
Soon it was time for lunch and time for Mommy and Daddy to come home. When they appeared, Lydia danced from one end of the room to the other and jumped into their arms. After lunch, all three members of the reunited family went out to the field close to us and flew a lovely kite we borrowed from our neighbors Carol and Bernie. Lydia got to fly it herself! Just like the song says,
Let’s go fly a kite
Up to the highest height!
Let’s go fly a kite and send it soaring
Up through the atmosphere
Up where the air is clear
Oh, let’s go fly a kite!
Our sleepover week was pronounced a big success by all. The tears in the middle just made the hugs at the end that much tighter.
[The links in this post will take you to places you can buy items easily. I am not compensated for placing them here. I share in case you get inspired to give a treat to some child you love.]
While we were having so much fun together, we adults were very aware that children, parents, and grandparents in Ukraine are experiencing terrible losses and trauma. We didn’t talk with Lydia about this tragedy, but we will follow the lead of her parents in choosing what to share at a later time, probably to give her the chance she so ardently seeks, to be a helper.
Let’s create some collective wisdom here. What have been your greatest hits when doing sleepovers with grandchildren? Did you have any brilliant ideas, like my FaceTime idea, that went awry? How do you think small children should be told about tragic events happening in the world?