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18-Month-old Emerges as Victor in Christmas Sleepover

Neither my husband nor I were looking nearly as wide awake or cute the morning after the sleepover. You can tell by the self-satisfied smile on his face he knew he outlasted us!

A few weeks ago I wrote about holiday traditions I was hoping to start with my grandchild. It sounded pretty good on paper, but implementing some of them was a bit more difficult than I predicted.  My husband and I consider ourselves fairly active and energetic people, but this is the tale of how a 28-pound 18-month-old single handedly took us down in the first annual “Grands Christmas Sleepover” while simultaneously giving me pause to reflect on my parents’ roles as grandparents.  Despite my husband and I using the tag-team approach, Callister came out the victor in our marathon of fun. It wasn’t even close; he is much tougher than we are.

Callister was mesmerized by the Christmas parade. It helped he had a bird’s eye view from his granddad’s shoulders!

Our sleepover started with the Tulsa Christmas Parade. It was a gorgeous day for a parade; sunny, clear skies with barely a breeze, but we got there too late for a curbside spot, which meant we were several layers back. Our options were to try to shove the people out of the way so our precious grandson had a better view, or for us to put him on our shoulders. Acting the part of the civilized people we pretend to be, he sat on our shoulders. Lesson learned, next year we will get there 30 minutes early to snag a good spot.

Our next stop was Utica Square to look at all the beautiful Christmas displays. The line for Santa was way too long for my level of line-standing patience (which is basically nil) so we spent some time in Pottery Barn Kids, a place that’s Nirvana for kids and has a nice, clean bathroom for finicky grandmothers.  We walked all over Utica Square enjoying the gorgeous day and being in a throng of happy people and dogs, lots of friendly dogs! This was when we had to make a big decision: he had not had a nap, and it was three o’clock in the afternoon–should we take him home for a nap or power through to his 7 PM bedtime? I was on “Team Power Through,” but my husband won that round, and the two of them took a nap for an hour and a half. Big mistake! The evening schedule was thrown off, and although it did mean we had a pleasant time eating at Hideaway and grocery shopping, it also meant he was wide awake several hours past his bedtime. He normally sleeps through the night, but he was up and down all night, and at 5 AM I gave up the quest for sleep and cooked breakfast.

An hour past his normal bedtime and he was still wide awake and happy to help grocery shop!

There is a point to of all my ramblings, and I’ve expressed them in this open letter to my long-deceased parents. They may not have wi-fi in Heaven, but with this apology, at least my guilt will be partially alleviated.

Dear Mom and Dad,

 I’m sorry for expecting so much of you when my children were young. When I was a lonely, exhausted single mom with young kids, I asked too much of you. I didn’t understand why you seemed reluctant to be more involved with my kids. Many times, when I was desperate for help, I turned to you and although you almost always came through for me, it seemed you did so a bit reluctantly, and when I came to retrieve my kids you usually seemed all too anxious to rush us out the door. Now I understand that was not a demonstration of lack of love, merely a self-survival instinct kicking in as you were cratering from energy-draining toddler activity. You were wonderful with your grandkids, they loved to be with you and learned so much from you. You did activities with them I never would have done: sewing, gardening and wood work. You loved them and they knew it, but I selfishly wanted more. When I thought about buying the house across the street from you, you said that might be a little too close. I was crushed. I didn’t understand why you wouldn’t want us right there, in your face, interacting on a daily basis.

You were in your 60s and 70s when my kids were born, I was in my early 30s. Now that I’m in my 60s all I can say is, I totally get it now.  I had no idea how different 60 feels than 30, even a healthy, relatively fit 60 doesn’t have the endurance and energy of a 30-year-old. Please forgive me for my unrealistic expectations and for not understanding your limitations. Now that I’m in your position I am actually impressed you did as much as you did with my kids. I look back at the big projects you undertook with my kids–the elaborate gingerbread house and the doghouse you built together, the craft projects and the sewing–and I am impressed. I should have been more thankful, but all I can plead is ignorance, I didn’t understand. I apologize for ever judging you for not being more active and helpful. You were the best and I love you both!

Your frazzled, tired, apologetic, grateful and understanding daughter.

My parents had eight grandchildren, and at this time, we only have one and sometimes we run out of steam. Our first annual Christmas sleepover wasn’t quite how I envisioned it, but as with many things in life, you have to roll with the punches and learn as you go. I think Callister had a good time and after he left, we followed the siren song of the couch for an afternoon nap. One thing I’ve learned in sixty years is that very little in life turns out as planned, but never give up, perseverance and attitude is key. We’ll be back for more, Callister, get ready for round two of “Grands Christmas Sleepover” in 2019!

My plan was for Callister to make a Christmas present for his parents. Our attempt at a clay handprint was a major fail. I’m going to blame it on his oversized paw rather than my lack of crafting skills.

Categories: Grand Life