Imagination Boxes

As soon as I saw these suggested uses for a box on social media, the ol' light bulb blinked on!

I remembered the joy my older grand girls had years ago and decided I'd do the same for the younger ones. Can't believe I painted this one; attached a laminated top for spills and lined the openings with fabric! 

I found good sizes and shapes from my neighborhood Target, Staples and Kohl's. They were folded but not yet trashed.  I chatted with the customer service folks in each store and asked if there was a best day to inquire. I was feeling pretty lucky by the third stop! Shipments arrive daily; after unpacking, boxes are folded and stored until shredded and/or compacted. Most days there'll be some for the asking!

Three kids over four days and look at the awesome fun we had! Lane chose the largest of two luggage-containing boxes to be his fort. He suggested a box cutter from the garage..."like Daddy uses"...but  none could be found so we settled for sharp scissors. He penciled in lines to follow and I cut an opening for the door. He measured each side and sketched in lines so both windows would be even.
 He was eager to play in it; so I left him alone. He spent hours playing with Beyblades and munching on snacks and sandwiches. Even better in his eyes was when I crawled in to eat lunch with him!

The next day, Paige's idea was to fancy it up with curtains for a house or staging puppet shows. I finally found a use for my Mom's old lace runners! Paige used a glue stick while I held the flashlight and helped keep it even.

 She lured Burney in and barricaded the windows and door....but he shot out of there with a squeally meow that sounded like "no way!"

      The following weekend the twins both stayed over and were eager to play with the box; what a perfect way to capture their time and imagination instead of negotiating TV, Kindle and/or computer time limits! Their store was selling pillows, books and dollhouse furniture for "real money!" They emptied their piggy banks and played for hours. If only I'd video taped it and captured their adorable conversation and comments!

Afternoon temps in the 70's took us outside; but instead of scooters or bikes....they went for the other boxes in the garage and became instant robots!

On Sunday, big brother Drew came home from church with me to see "the awesome box" at Grandma's house.  He spied the rest of the boxes in the garage and pulled them into the living room where we moved furniture for his creation to fit! He didn't need any help.....just stacked them up, grabbed towels, blankets and pillows and became King of the Castle. 

He nestled in and eventually asked for his phone (equipped for games only) and I reluctantly set the timer. Giving me an hour of imaginative ideas and creative smiles was worth giving in...that's what Grandmas' do!

Senior, Single and SeventySomething  

This year, 2020, I’ll be alone, staying home and staying safe. But I’m still dancing to oldies via, online classes, my playlist and the oldies stations! And singing “Happy Birthday” to everybody as I wash my hands! 

So you’re a little bit older and a lot less bolder than you used to be” sings Bob Seger; one of my favorites from the 60’s! I’m proud to say I sang and danced to rock and roll all through MY 60’s....just as Rock and Roll Never Forgets; neither have I! My family is used to rock songs blasting in my car; or being coaxed to dance with me when it's played at a concert, theater or store aisles.  But as I approach another Birthday, I wonder if it’s time to grow up and stop acting like a sixty-something kid?  I’ll be 76 this year…along with a dozen of my high school girlfriends who’ve stayed close all these years.

Birthdays have always been a big deal in my life. I don’t care how old I am, I’ll always want a cake, presents and fun celebration. Even if it sounds like this:  "Wow! You are a very big number" as my youngest grandson exclaimed last year.  I get as excited about mine as they do ...courtesy of the 70 plus years of   ‘birthday wisdom’ I’ve accumulated. My parents made our birthdays a grand and festive occasion. My siblings and I would dress in our Sunday best; and because we each shared our birth dates with a grandparent.... it was even more special! As we grew older, our grandmothers took us shopping for new clothes (as I now do with my older grand girls!)   On my 13th, I had a party with both boys and girls…..and listened to rock and roll of course! I was thrilled to receive gifts of single dollar bills; at the time it seemed like a million bucks!

I find great joy in celebrating others' special day as well!  As soon as the first grandchild came along, I started celebrating Half Birthdays! It worked out well with the older two as their days are exactly six months apart. The three younger ones have winter birthdays.......too long to wait till next one!  So Grandma makes sure there's a spring time celebration for them. When our kids were young, we posted signs around the house with photos and proclamations of how awesome they were........a tradition they carry on now with their children. While my folks were still living, they called each grandchild and great-grandchild to sing Happy Birthday over the phone! My Mom would send cards with money in the amount of how old they were.....something I wish I still did. I love giving wrapped gifts!

I’m blessed that my family supports my indulgences. They jumped on board for my 65th celebration at the beach. We rode five miles on our bikes, counted 65 steps in the sand....six times sliding down the ship's pulley rope, five times up and down the fire get the idea! I received 65 balloons from Mom and 65 M&M's from the grandkids! Yes, they’re catching birthday fever from me!

Sometimes it’s an even-bigger-than-usual-deal! One year I flew over the snow on a dog sled in Alaska with my oldest granddaughter. I spent another birthday in Australia climbing the Sydney Harbor Bridge.   I was totally caught off guard when my sister invited me for dinner…..and I walked into a room full of friends shouting "surprise" on my 50th!  A few years ago my Mom sent me a special gift.....a beautiful necklace with the birthstones of my five grandkids! Some years it's just sweet and a yummy cake, cards and a few kiddos. I was an educator for over 30 years, and even though my birthday often fell during Spring Break, room moms and colleagues always made sure there was a gift, student-made cards and a cake each year. No wonder I'm spoiled!

My gal pals and I will be meeting for our annual gathering in Michigan again this summer. We’ve stayed in different places over the years; places where we can shop, eat and talk……mostly talk! There’s nothing better than catching up and sharing stories of our lives. This year we’ll be toasting one another during our collective celebration at Greenfield Village. I can’t think of a better ‘big deal’ way to honor my birthday than with these amazing women who’ve been together through it all! 
The 1960’s gave me my start; I graduated college, got married, began teaching, and had my first child. I taught aerobics, learned to hook a rug, renovated our lake house and honed my gardening skills.  By the time I reached age 60….I’d had another child, moved cross-country three times, received my masters degree, became a principal, worked as a fitness trainer, learned country line dancing and welcomed three grandchildren!

My 60’s brought two more…twins! And then…retirement, travel and discovering Zumba, paddle boarding and blogging! I survived uprooting my kids, finding new jobs in new places, financial woes, illnesses, graying hair and the loss of my parents. The sudden death of my husband brought me to a standstill for awhile…..but I’m surviving. He helped grow me strong and equipped me to carry on; to welcome this new chapter in my life.

Senior, single and! This is how I see it; instead of aging, I’m increasing in value! I’ve got grandchildren, wisdom and energy. I've had 7 perfect decades of life and love; wonderful friends and neighbors from all the places I’ve lived and worked and I'm ready to embrace whatever unfolds in the years to come! That’s very valuable indeed!   

Seger closes Night Moves with this; “strange how the night moves with autumn closing in.” Slowing down a bit maybe, but I’m not done dancing.  Autumn is also called Indian summer…..still lots of time to grow older and bolder; to learn, laugh and love some more.