My daughter-in-law posted something on Facebook a couple of years ago that changed my gift-giving life. It was a little essay suggesting that grandparents give experiences rather than wrapped gifts for birthdays and special occasions.
Now, after a couple of dozen turns of calendar pages, I can say this new tradition has sometimes saved money, but not always. It definitely takes more time than simply purchasing something.
And dang it's been fun.
I usually let the boys choose the outing, except for once when I felt too tired to drive. That time, we enjoyed a simple walk in the neighborhood and to the local coffee shop/bakery where we watched workers creating cinnamon buns. (That is still my favorite of all the dates and makes me think a fun challenge would be to create dates where you spend no money or maybe just a little.) We've also visited the art museum, the public natural museum, Grant Park, and Discovery World. With each date, we've had one-on-one time that we rarely get . . . along with some pretty hilarious stories, conversations, and questions.
For the first few "dates," I went by myself with the grandchildren. Eventually I insisted that the old man join us, even though he still sort of lives at work and he's a hard guy to pin down. But I think he'd agree that these have been precious, and funny, times.
Below is a little photo gallery of some of our birthday dates (Oliver's photos didn't turn out). This year the youngest of our six grandsons, Max, will be old enough for a date. And there's a little girl who will join our family soon, and maybe in a year or two, we'll have a whole new kind of birthday outing . . . .
Remember, love is spelled T - I - M - E. . . .
|David making art at the Milwaukee Art Museum|
|Mike, David and I show our art pieces that will be part of a large installation.|
|David wanted his picture taken by the giant mural outside Café Lulu.|
|Isaac and me at Grant Park|
|Grant Park again|
|Isaac at the Milwaukee Public Museum|
|Mike and Isaac at the butterfly wing of the museum|
|Liam sketching at the Milwaukee Art Museum|
|Simon at the butterfly wing of the Milwaukee Public Museum|
|Simon and butterflies|
|Grandpa and butterfly|
David climbing his first tree after a walk in the neighborhood
|Liam's thank you note after one birthday adventure|