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The Magic of Grandma's House

One of the things I loved best about visiting Grandma’s house when I was growing up was how oblivious my parents became to things like over-sugaring, bedtime hijinks, and general childhood obnoxiousness. It seemed that we could get away with all kinds of things at Grandma’s house that would never be tolerated at home, and that was why Grandma’s house was known as the most magical place on earth. Eat that, Walt Disney.

I really thought that something about that place rendered my parents slightly brain dead. They would put us to bed downstairs in Grandma’s basement. (Grandpa lived there too but for some reason we always just called it Grandma’s house. I’m reminded of that every time my kids refer to their grandparents as “Grandma and Grandpa Pam.” Grandparenthood seems to be a position of female dominance.)

So there we would be in Grandma’s basement, “sleeping,” standing on the furniture doing light shows with flashlights, smacking pool balls across the pool table, jumping around, squealing and going generally insane. Then we’d hear our parents’ footsteps coming down the stairs and dive into bed, panting and grinning with our eyes squeezed shut. They’d look around and then head back upstairs. Phew! That was close. We couldn’t believe they’d fallen for that…AGAIN!

Last week we were visiting Dan’s parents Grandma and Grandpa Pam. We put the kids down for the night and a few minutes later the raucousness began. Laylee and Magoo were laughing hysterically. “LET’S DO A FOOTWAR FOR REAL!” Laylee cackled.

Dan and I looked at each other. Staying true to our home routines, I yelled out, “Laylee! Magoo! Go to sleep!” They were laughing too hard to hear me. Dan got up to go lay down the smack. I stopped him and reminded him about the magic of Grandma’s house. He nodded and as he walked down the hall, I heard him call out, “Hey Kathryn. I’m going to go check on the kids and see if they’re ASLEEP!”


A few giggles later and things went silent as Dan walked loudly towards the room, shuffling and stomping his feet. “They’re asleep!” he announced loudly as he left the room followed by the sound of giggles.

After leaving Grandma’s house, mean Mom and Dad re-inhabited our bodies. But while we were with Grandma, we remained happily oblivious to all the shenanigans going on in the secret world of joy and children.