Drake and Montana, my two youngest grandchildren, stayed with me for the weekend while their parents were out of town. Before the big event, I made my lists and checked them twice. Find fishing poles. Wrap Christmas presents in white paper. Dig out every creative ribbon and trinket and magic marker to decorate them. Organize spool cabinet, buy sewing scrap material and dust sewing machine. Set out bedding for living room couch-campout. Buy M&Ms to replicate the game from last week's Young Life get-together. Look in pantry for poppy seed bread, sugar cookie and chili ingredients.
I had my agenda. Every item was checked -- except for a workable sewing machine. Mine motored only in reverse and therefore was not the best choice for two novice seamstresses. Fortunately, my daughter-in-law had one we could borrow. Between my Christmas closet and miscellaneous drawers, Jo Ann's in Kansas City and the local grocery stores, I was able to buy all the supplies I needed. Everything was on go.
Drake spent Friday night with a friend, so it became a girls' night out for Mo and me.
We gabbed away as we turned the pull-out couch into our bed, and after pilfering the cabinets for our midnight munchies, we settled in to watch the Disney Channel.
Saturday morning, Mo had a basketball game, but following that, we donned our aprons and got to work. Moving from recipe to recipe, we improvised and concocted culinary delights that would have made Rachael Ray proud. I don't believe I ever have had that quantity of dirty dishes in my sink or flour on my floor. I didn't care.
Drake returned Saturday evening, bringing with him two buddies for our indoor "campout." We began by decorating the presents.
The kids were miniature Picassos. Montana magic-markered the top of the first gift, designing a huge cookie on it. Attaching Nestle chocolate chips with a hot-glue gun was a bonus. I drew a Christmas tree on my present, complementing it with festive silver tinsel and drawn-on bulbs. "Why don't we make some popcorn and string it along the tree?" suggested Mo.
"Perfect idea," I answered, and headed to the stove to pop away, super-gluing on the popcorn, as well. Even the boys got into this project, attaching ribbons, balloons and colored string to their drawn-on deer and dinosaurs, as if competing for some imaginary prize. Over the next few hours we laughed and labored, our motto being "more is better."
When it was time to decorate the pizza-sized sugar cookie that Mo had made earlier in the day, each child claimed a fourth, adding colored sprinkles with, I believe, more skipping across the kitchen floor than ending up on the actual masterpiece. No big deal, I thought. After all, these ARE my grandkids and this weekend is a treat. Clean-up time will be with me forever, but THEY won't.
The night ended with some serious dominoes, a game that continued the following morning before church. On Sunday, Drake hung at his friend's all afternoon while Mo and I attempted to sew, and when their parents showed up that night to pick them up, we still had things unchecked on our list.
The point is, I created time for my grandkids and what was important to them. I prepared ahead of time, making them the focus of my weekend, not allowing for any interruptions that could possibly distract me. I lavished attention on them, refusing to get diverted by phone calls, papers that needed grading or even writing this article. When they left Sunday evening and I was cleaning up sprinkles, it dawned on me: I need to be just as deliberate, just as motivated with my Jesus-time. My relationship with Him should be a higher priority than anything -- even my grandkids, knowing that there is no better gift -- not just during the Christmas season, but every day of the year.
After all, in His case, more really IS better.