Tonight, seven of my grandkids, ranging from age four to age 10, will be here for a party/sleepover.
It's a little insane to have that many kids running up and down the stairs, slamming doors and arguing over who's not sharing.
What's even more crazy is this is the 4th year we've done this, which means the youngest was just a year old when we started. That first year, three of them were still in diapers. And two more were pretty shaky on the potty-training.
What was I thinking?
I was thinking about how fast they'll grow up.
When you raise your own children, you don't know how quickly the time will pass. You get caught up in earning a living, keeping a household, staying afloat, and you don't notice something priceless getting away from you.
Later, you want to reach back through time and catch those precious moments, hold them in your fist, squeeze out the joy you were too busy to drink deeply as it spun past.
As a grandparent, you know you only have a moment, in instant, a flash, to see them in their kindergarten pageants, to admire their artwork on a schoolroom wall, to huddle on uncomfortable bleachers and cheer them on to victory, to sit in a darkened theater and watch them try on being someone else. You know you'll have only one or two chances to see her in a prom dress, him in a suit, looking so beautiful in all their adolescent awkwardness it makes you want to weep. You know that all too soon they'll be starting high school, starting college, starting jobs, starting families.
And when that happens, they'll be too busy to party with Grandma.
So bring on the damp sheets, the too-much-partying tummy aches, the I-miss-my-mommy trips home in the middle of the night.
Tonight we drain the sippy cup of joy.