Nana's Camp

 I'm just enough younger than my two older sisters that I watched and envied them everything they did growing up.  That hasn't changed much over the past 30+ years of our adulthood.

My sister, Carrie, has spent her time raising ten children, supporting her husband in his successful business ventures, volunteered countless hours to all manner of causes but especially those centered on her faith and her family, mothered and mentored scores of teenagers, and opened her home to any and every stray animal or child to wander up her country lane of a driveway.  She always manages to turn up when I need her the most, bringing sunshine and laughter in her wake.  Her kind, insightful soul has often spoken wisdom, grace and forgiveness when none other could manage a kind word.

Now that her children are grown, my sister delights in entertaining her grandchildren.  Judging from the way my grandchildren attach themselves to her when she breezes into town for a few days now and again, I have a small inkling of the love her own bear for her.

One of the things she does for them is Nana Camp, which consists of a day with just Nana (and, maybe Bapa if he can finagle it) doing all sorts of wonderful things like painting their own aprons and then preparing their own meal, a trip to the movies or the children's museum, the park and the local frozen yogurt shop.  And, because she is a collector of strays, she may have just as many "grandchildren" unrelated to her as her blood kin.  After all, she only has seven grandchildren, the oldest eight.  That's scarcely any at all.

Of all the ways I would like to emulate my sister, Nana's Camp ranks high on the list.  However, I'm not as tireless or capable as she, and not nearly as fun, so I can't fly solo or even with Papa as an erstwhile co-pilot.  Especially with four toddlers ranging in age from 18 to 33 months, my daughters-in-law wisely spell one another to cover my many lapses.

Even so, Ariane gets to attend the temple for a bit and Desiree' runs a few errands unencumbered.  We pick figs off the tree in the backyard (which they've eagly anticipated all spring), swim for an hour or two, eat ramen and watermelon, and have "quiet time" with a movie.  Then, when it's time to load up for home, Abram clings to my leg and whimpers, "I want to stay with Nanny"—the most intelligible thing I've heard him lisp all day.

It's been a good day.  We definitely need to do this again soon.  I just wish Dustin could have been here.


carrieap said...

Wow Penny! Such a tribute that I don't deserve. Thank you.
You are pretty admirable yourself. I'm just not as eloquent as you in expressing it.
I love you Frister!

Rachel Keppner said...

How fun! And someday, when I'm a grandma, I want to be called "Nanny," too! :-)

Unknown said...

@Carrie: you in a nutshell: frister <3

@Rachel: from your blog, it looks like you have Mommy camp every day of the year! You need a badge I can grab!

Weaver said...

What fun, Penny. I used to be able to do more before the older grand kids moved so far away. One of the funnest times I've had was babysitting some of them while their parents were on a trip.

Grandchildren are your reward for not killing your children is so true!