We had just pulled into the driveway when our youngest grandtwins, 3-year-old Ellis and Brady, came running out the front door and down the steps to hug us.
“Let me see your earrings, Grandma,” Ellis said, reaching up to pull me down to his level. “The green M&Ms! I told you, Brady!”
“Those are the ones our brother Adler picked out for you!” Brady yelled as he ushered us into the house and started going through the tote bag I always carry for them, filled with favorite books from our house and three little bags of snacks in the bottom. It’s tradition, and I look forward to it just as much as they do, filling each bag with pretzels and crackers, adding exactly two M&Ms and a cookie in the bottom, just as I always do.
With grandkids, it’s the little things that count. It always has been. Whether it was pancakes in the shape of the first letters of the Omaha grandkids’ names on a Saturday morning when their parents were still in the bedroom resting after driving all day the day before listening to every word as we talked about school and soccer practice and how much they missed us, or a frozen waffle lunch on the patio swing with Caroline, strawberries placed just so in the center the way she likes them on her favorite plastic fish plate as she explains once again that the state she lives in, North Carolina, was named after her. It has always been the little things.
A trip to the Halloween store one year with in-town grandgirls to buy a dangly spider that would scare their Momma for sure is one we still talk about each Halloween, no matter that they’re both teenagers now. Colin, who just turned 17, still laughs about the year he found my secret holiday closet where I stashed little fun presents for all the grandkids but never said a word to any of them about it. Because he knew, even then, that the little things were too important to them, and to me, to spoil the fun.
Window clings scattered by the kids all over the mirrors and doors along with a hundred fingerprints for the holidays that wouldn’t come down until their next visit, a bubble light in the shape of a turkey for Thanksgiving, pictures to be colored that come in the mail even though we see the in-town grandkids often because getting mail is the very best.
Looking at pictures on my phone from when they were little, the nickname Grandma and Papa Raisin because I always had a box of raisins in my purse for them, laughing at the same spot when we read their favorite books together, snuggled under the quilts I stitched for them before they were born. The battery-operated seashell light on the nightstand that’s allowed to stay on all night in the princess room when they visit and the Christmas pillowcases and sheets any time of the year. Just because it’s the little things that count.
Last Christmas, all nine of them squished together on the downstairs couch at our son and daughter-in-law’s house so we could take a quick picture. There was squirming and crying, laughing and closed eyes, and one of the twins was upside down. The older kids promised to recreate that exact pose in 10 years, just for the fun of it. I pray I will still be here to see it or perched on a cloud watching in awe. Because with grandkids, it has always been the little things.