I was a bit anxious at the outset. More than a bit, actually. Because when I first thought about this summer prior to school's dismissal in late May, I thought that it had been quite a long time since I had spent a summer responsible for a child. Sheer terror set in as I thought about it, because I quickly realized that I had never been at home, every day, all day, with a child for the entire summer, and, since Grandmommie teaches Summer School each year, that was exactly what was about to happen.
And suddenly, late 50s did not seem like a good time to try to learn how to do that. Granddaddy was sweating it, big-time!
Three weeks would be simple. My parents take Kaly to Vacation Bible School each summer. They continue to choose to be religious, and that's their business, not mine. And you try to tell great-grandparents that they can't have their great-grandchild. Then, she had been accepted for a week of the school system's CLUE Camp. (CLUE-Creative Learning in a Unique Environment-is the Shelby County Schools program for gifted children.) Finally, Grandmommie had registered her for a week of camp at the Memphis Zoo, given her love for that wonderful place and its animals.
Kaly thoroughly enjoyed each of those weeks, especially Zoo Camp, and that just raised the bar for the remaining time of Hanging Out with Granddaddy.
I was determined that we wouldn't sit in the house watching TV all summer. Which was kind of silly, because one thing we have learned about our granddaughter, since she came home in mid-October, is that she really doesn't watch TV. So that one was easy. The iPad, however, was a genuine challenge. And I was no more interested in a summer of small screen than I was of giant screen.
I knew that one day would be Library Day. That is a summer tradition for us. Even when she wasn't living here, we did our best to have a significant library visit each week in the summers. Then, I knew that for at least a generation, Malco Theaters' Summer Movie Camp had played on Tuesday and Wednesday mornings throughout the summer, and the movies tend to be pretty good. They certainly were again this summer! (Rio 2, Mr. Peabody and Sherman, Penguins of Madagascar, Trolls, and Horton Hears a Who) Hard to beat for $2 apiece per film! Also, the Orpheum Theater's Summer Movie Series always includes family films. This year, we caught the annual Wizard of Oz, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (That's the Gene Wilder version. You know, the GOOD one.), and The Princess Bride, one of the greatest films ever made.
And, in checking on options, I found that Memphis Botanic Garden was holding Mudpie Mondays and Adventure Fridays. On Mondays, the kids were able to make old-fashioned mud pies for the garden fairies who live in the My Big Backyard part of the Garden. Fridays brought a presentation on something fascinating about the natural world each week. (Mosquitos: why they bite us, and how to run them off, for example) Each of those activities was followed by some time in the Garden's spray park, where it thunders for two minutes to signal that the rain is about to fall, every 30 minutes. Then I discovered that our wonderful Brooks Museum held Wacky Wednesdays. The Brooks is our fine arts museum, and they had volunteers to help the kids make a piece of art (Wire Sculpture was her favorite), then they showed several short films from Caldecott and Newberry Award winners, then they provided a bingo game that encouraged the kids to tour the museum to find the pictures shown on the game cards. Then we threw in a few Saturday morning visits to the Memphis Zoo for animals, the Teton Trek fountain, and picnics. We also mixed in a few Lazy Days, just to take it easy.
I think that I have never had so much fun in one summer. It has been an absolute blast spending it with this delightful little girl, who has so much personality, so much confidence, such an intellect, and her mother's beauty.
She made this intimidating prospect of a whole summer a great deal of fun for an awfully anxious old Granddaddy!