The word “respite” means: breathing space, relaxation, informal, recess, time out, rest. There is probably no greater “respite” for kids than spending the night at grandma’s house. (In my case… “Nana’s” house.) On occasion, I have a grandchild call and say, “Nana, can I spend the night at your house?” “I need a break.” “A break from what?” I reply. “Oh, you know… a break from my brothers (or my sisters)… my folks.”
What this really means is… “I want to come to your house where I can do anything I want… (with in reason). I can lay on the couch and watch TV without being bugged.” “We can go out and get a “bite to eat” and I can order anything I want.” “I can stay up till three and sleep until noon.” “Can we go to the dollar store, get movies at the library and get individual pizzas?”
Some grandkids come one at a time… others want cousins to join them. Whatever!
Obviously, each child has his own set of respite requirements… and I have my limits on what I will allow… but for the most part… the child is “King or Queen” for the day.
I think sometimes we think that kids don’t need a break from school, homework, home chores, parents, friends, and life’s pressures… because they’re kids. But, they need a break… just like we do. For me… I’m glad to provide that kind of respite for my grandkids…. a place that’s safe and fun.
Since my sister, Sheila’s grandkids live in another state… her grands come for a week at a time. They go fishing, camping, and take long walks in the middle of the night… up to a near by cemetery… just to visit and chat. When it’s time to go home… they moan and groan… and shed tears… as they load their gear in the car to go to their own abode.
What wonderful opportunities we grandparents have… to be a “save place or safe person” in the lives of our grand kids. There are so many teaching moments we can offer, in support of their parents… as well as entertain and provide respite. I can’t think of a better place in life to be…. than a “nana.”
This past holiday season, I had lots of grands stay over at different times. In this group we even included my neighbor’s granddaughter…We had a great time. They’re already asking, “When can we come again.” (Got a few more grands to get in before we start the next rotation.)
“Soon,” I say, “Soon!”
P.S. Do you think they have Grandma respite some place?
P.P.S. Lest you think that every visit is respite… it is not. Sometimes they come to work… mow the lawn, rake leaves, clean out the rain gutters and the like. But even then… we try and combine some fun.