Ever since my family moved home to Michigan, I started a new tradition where I picked one weekend, over the summer, and invited all of my nieces and nephews to my house for a sleepover.
Now.. one of my nephews was too old to enjoy this.. and.. some were too young..
..but every year I get a few to come..
Ha! By a “few”.. I mean 10 or more..
This year.. I had 18 kiddos at my house..
Age range .. 4 years to 20!
Doors were left open… noses were skinned… heads were bonked… snow cones were spilled.. a bean bag lost its beans… shaving cream in the eyes… stubbed toes… there were hurt feelings.. disappointment over the rain.. and cancelled bonfires..
…but there was also.. laughter .. games… late night talks.. talking in sleep… snow cones.. sundaes on Sunday… frog hunts.. snuggles… hugs… movie time… swimming… a small obsession with the kitten.. good food… some amazing fairy/gnome/snake houses craft time.. and a lot of new memories made…
Some people ask how me how I can do it?
I don’t do it by myself. My husband stayed this year for some of it. A couple of my Sisters-in-law stayed and pitched in. This helps with the mixed aged groups. And everyone sends food.
But over all?
I go into this weekend EXPECTING them to act like kids.. and then? I expect chaos. I plan certain activities to give them focus. I provide spaces for them interact.. I give them my expectations.. but give them the freedom to make choices.
And I don’t know? It just falls into place..
But what I do know?
I know that these kids all look forward to it every year… counting down the weeks until it happens.. talking about “next year”…
And every year.. I fall in love with these blessings who create huge messes a little bit more.. until my heart is near to bursting…
So this morning as I clean up beanbag “beans” in my living room.. mop my kitchen floor.. kill the flies buzzing my head… clean up the craft supplies in the garage.. and put away the bounce house..?
I find myself planning for next year…