Good Friday morning ...

Normally the breakfast table at our home is quite simple. Two place settings occupied by two people having a leisurely breakfast together with quiet conversation followed by devotions. That's probably typical for a retired couple.

Of late that scene has been changed considerably at our house. This week the table has been expanded, additional seating has been added, and ten place settings can be seen on the occasion of every meal (breakfast, lunch and dinner). The lake house has been blessed with the presence of eight of our twelve grandchildren here for the week of VBS. It is an annual event that provides the backdrop for some serious cousin time. And serious they are!

They come with traditions already in place. Expectations are high, for some of these participants are in their 10th and 11th years. Along with the morning activity of VBS, there are afternoon events high on their list of things to do: swim time in the pool, surf and sand at the beach, a trip to Summer Waves Water Park, an evening at the Alhambra Dinner Theater (this year seeing "The Little Mermaid") and lunch with 95-year old great-grandfather. In between and in the evenings, there are card games and dominoes to play, making homemade American Home Videos, watching American Ninja Warriors and America's Got Talent. Of course, the grand finale is Friday night pizza, this year at Joseph's at Atlantic Beach. Needless to say, with eight grandchildren ages 5 through 14, there is NEVER a dull moment.

Mealtime is a hoot. There is not just a single box of cereal on the table for breakfast, but boxes of cereal, plus homemade granola. For French toast there is not a plate of several slices, but two loaves of challah bread sliced and prepped for the skillet. There is not just a half gallon of milk, but gallons of milk in the refrigerator. And the same goes for orange juice.  There is not a quarter of a watermelon waiting to be sliced, but two whole watermelons. There are multiple containers of strawberries, blueberries and yogurt; bananas by the bunch; tomatoes by the bag; numerous loaves of bread. For lunch time BLTs there is a pound and a half of bacon. These kids can eat!

Conversation at mealtime ranges from the chatter of a five-year-old to the inquisitiveness of a high school freshman. There is very little silence. Most everyone has a story to tell about the day and most have an opinion or two to share as well. Conversation is lively, animated and sometimes downright funny. Of course, there are ALWAYS questions covering the gamut of who, what, when, where, why and how. That's how it goes with the younger ones. Thankfully, the older ones share a lot of patience and provide additional fodder for the conversation.

Transportation is always a concern so during VBS week you will find a fifteen-passenger van parked at our house. Transporting the grands to and from Virginia and traipsing around for the week, often with an extra two or three or four companions on board, requires a vehicle large enough to carry the load. The oversized van is part of the experience and is cherished by all ... even the eleven-hour trip from Charlottesville.

So, our house is a busy place this week. It becomes less busy and quieter as the evening progresses and one by one the smallest to the largest hit their pillow for the night typically exhausted from the day’s activities. Our garage over the years has become known as the bunk room and is able to accommodate up to six. That is typically where a lot of the action takes place. It has become a place unto itself for the grands. 

As with all good times, this one, too, comes to an end. At the close of the week everyone is tired (including Nana and Popa) and the return trip to Virginia is quieter and much more sedate. But the anticipation for next year has already begun. Though there are 365 days yet to be lived before VBS next year, plans are being laid and expectations are being generated. Thankfully, those plans and expectations will soon be repositioned as summer activities take precedence over anything more than a week into the future.

Grandchildren are a crown to the aged and parents are the pride of their children [Proverbs 16:6]

Have a blessed weekend in the Lord ...

PR