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The Rewards of Hosting Cousin Camp

August 3, 2019

Another Way for week of August 2, 2019

The Rewards of Hosting Cousin Camp

H enjoying watermelon at Joe’s fishing and hunting cabin.

The last in a four-part series on “Learnings from Cousin Camp”

I hope our young grandsons will have memories of cousin camp that stick with them the rest of their lives—if only fuzzy and distant and prodded by pictures. That might be a stretch for H, the three-and-a-half-year-old, but I think most of us have memories from the time we were five so I’m sure S and J will remember some highlights.

And these are some of mine:

  • Although young H was scared of the lightning bugs, I allowed J to go out on the porch with me to see the sea of lights in our hayfield. He took his breath in at the sight of the fireflies and said something like ah. I said “Don’t you have fireflies where you live?” He said, “A few, but not like here.”
  • H being able to put into words why he was so distraught during the Paddington 2 movie.
  • Hearing that S told his mommy he had learned how to lick envelopes to stay shut.
  • J’s excitement over eating his very first ice cream cone. His parents had not been able to find gluten free cones where they lived but I found some in my local Food Lion and he was ecstatic. (And yes, the sugar buzz lasted a little while for all three boys.)
  • S’s mimicking professional baseball players to a T: in stance, pitcher windup, and catcher squat, even though he mainly plays T-ball.

    See light of ceiling solar tube in this photo that J. couldn’t turn off.

  • My amusement when J came out of one of our bathrooms that have solar tubes in the ceiling (special tube—non-electric—which magnifies sunlight exponentially, making a very bright light). He said “I tried and tried to turn that light off but it won’t go off!”
  • H still loving to cuddle his pet zebra Zsa Zsa on swing or couch.
  • S running (almost without looking) in the drive-thru lane at Chick-Fil-A to jump up and embrace his daddy when the week was up.
  • J’s laser focus on the Bingo caller as we played real Bingo at a Rockingham County lawn party for the first time.
  • Enjoying the older boys’ new interest in family pictures hanging on the walls, asking about “who is this?” and hearing more about them.

And here’s my list of “wish we had done this” or to do next time (check out Shirley Showalter’s post about their experiences).

  • Plan a picture day or at least 5 minutes to take some really good pictures of the whole group.
  • Have a list of more chores they need to do in order to earn good behavior points and a small prize at the end.

Overall, we learned to know them so much better – their likes and dislikes and the nuances of who was able to laugh at funny stunts in a movie, who got sad, who paid attention to names of roads, who pretends to like snakes.

At the end of the week, I felt depleted, energy sapped. It made me remember those points as a young mom when I felt like jumping in the minivan and driving off, and then after refocusing on my many gifts and blessings, feeling more grateful and in control of my emotions again.

As grandparents, we walk a fine line between letting them enjoy grandparent love and leeway—and holding up parental standards and rules so they don’t become unruly monsters. But this was such a privilege and I hope we have many more highlights and special moments as the years fly by too fast.

What have you enjoyed or learned in your own experiences in hosting grandchildren,

or memories from when you visited your own grandparents.


Can you spot the two extra local “second” cousins here who came over for dinner one night?

For a copy of all four columns on “Learnings from Cousin Camp,” you can write or email me at or Another Way Media, P.O. Box 363, Singers Glen, VA 22834 and I’ll send it to you by mail or email.

Another Way is a column by Melodie Davis, in syndication since 1987. She is the author of nine books. Another Way columns are posted at a week after newspaper publication.   

  1. Beverly Silver permalink

    What a wonderful , if exhausting week! Thanks so much for sharing. Maybe you could make three little booklets with all the pictures of all three of the boys in each and give one to each of them Photos on a camera – oops – phone might not last forever! Bet you have already thought of that!

  2. Yes, Beverly, I am definitely thinking of that. 🙂 I do love books.
    And yes, we were quite drained but we’ve certainly recovered!

  3. As the cliche says, “A good time was had by all.”

    And now it’s time for Mama Bear to rest!
    Ahhhhh . . .

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