Camp Grandma & Grandpa

IMG_0005.JPGWhile many of my friends are welcoming their children back from sleepaway camp and others have filled their kids’ backpacks with tips for their day camp counselors, my daughter and her good friend just shared a wonderful week at a camp that is completely free of charge.
I’m sure you’re wondering – where can I sign my kid up next year for a free camp? Well, unless they’re related to my parents, we will have to put your kids on a waiting list. You see, after my daughter returned from sleepaway camp we decided she’d spend a week at her grandparents’ house and she asked if she could bring her friend. And despite the fact that my folks have quite an active schedule as seniors, they welcomed them both into their lives with open arms.
But the best part about being at my parent’s house wasn’t necessarily the unlimited swimming, beach visits, shopping and top notch cooking, it was the unique day trips the girls got to take as my parents insisted they tag along and meet their eclectic group of friends.
Earlier in the week, the girls took a day trip to Weight Watchers. While most people might think a place where people frantically worry about whether they’ve lost a half a pound is pretty boring, well think again. It turns out that on this special day, all the members were throwing a birthday party for their fearless leader and my daughter and her friend got to find out the point value in everything from key lime pie to angel food cake with pineapples, to brownie cakes. Even though they’re both thin as a rail, it’s never too early to start counting points!
Next up, was a trip to the home of one of my parent’s tap dancing compatriots. You should know that my folks have always been fond of dancing together and over the last two years, they take weekly tap dancing lessons. This year, the venue for their troupe was moved to the former home or shall I say mansion of Rose Vanderbilt! While the Vanderbilt family moved out a long time ago, the incredibly gracious woman and tapper who lives there now, invited my daughter and her friend to tour the grounds along with her dog, Gladstone. And so, as the Doris Dunn Dancers practiced their soft shoe, Rebecca and Caelin counted all the guest bedrooms and bathrooms in the mansion. In case you’re wondering – there are 22 bedrooms! Plus, there’s a red room, a purple room and artwork of the Vanderbilt family there too. How cool is that? I’ve already started asking my mom to tag along on their next tap dancing adventure.
In between a visit to the beach, a trip to Friendly’s and a movie showing of Aliens in the Attic and an at home screening of 17 Again, the girls also attended a carnival thrown by the Southampton Chabad House. For several hours, the girls learned how to make challah, played games and won valuable prizes, like a plastic squishy thing you can put on your counter and it flies through the air.
At the beginning of the week, the girls were given some spending money and so, when my mom decided to take them to Target on a particularly cloudy day, they grabbed their cash and were ready to do some serious shopping. The funny thing is, since this was the first time they got the chance to shop and pay for their own stuff, they both discovered that some of their favorite things are pretty darn expensive. And so, as they tallied up the costs, rather than purchase a new bathing suit or a pair of boots for school, they opted for less expensive trinkets and craft items and even managed to save a few dollars to buy a birthday present for my friend’s son. Who knew they’d even learn the value of money at Grandma’s house?
Today, the day started with a visit to the pool, a day of sand and sun at the beach, a game of catch in the backyard and lots of television viewing. Well it is the weekend and that’s when all those Disney shows air their new episodes. (Yes, I watch them too).
And so, as their week at Camp Grandma and Grandpa comes to a close, my daughter is already planning to book another free week next summer at my parents’ house. No matter how much money you spend on camp, a week away with your grandparents is truly priceless indeed.