where the writers are
Playing and Cluttering at Grandmother's House

Driving home from the exciting program that Laura Benedict presented for Southern Illinois Writers Guild tonight, it occurred to me that last night was Wednesday night and I had forgotten to write in Woodsong Notes. 

 After a fun flurry of company from Wednesday through Sunday, I guess I just forgot last night was Wednesday night.  I was concentrating on getting ready for tonight's meeting and had been busy catching up on life's details. After a visit from the grandchildren, life's details increase.  I clearly heard Jeannie explain to her 9-year-old to pick up before they left for their seven-hour trip back to Freeport.  However, there had also been a 17, 15, 13, and 11 year old here; and with all their activity, there was much too much for her to put away.

I really don't care.  I completely understand that there is no time to put stuff away as we stop the kids from one activity to scurry them onto a movie or whatever is planned next.  Parents say it is time to go, and kids have to go.  Often the grandkids want to return to some unfinished project later, and stuff needs to be left out.

Frankly, I like to see that the kids have gotten into to closet for old clothes ("costumes") that I keep for them in the den. (Now that most of the grandkids are teens, I've changed the name of "their" room from "art room" to den.)  The little plastic chairs they used to sit on are still there for Aidan and future great grandchildren.  And I started shopping before Easter for another couch so I could move an old one in there for the teens, but I got busy with other things and never completed that shopping task. It is on my summer to-do list. Despite the change in name, the den with its beat-up table still sees lots of art projects carried out.  I love it when I see the children working with all the scraps, ephemera., crayons, and papers that I keep for art supplies. Often they are using every minute they have to write a book or create a game with so many pieces that, of course, they will leave behind a lot of discarded junk.   I have to admit that I would rather see them their limited time here working and creating than cleaning up.  (Let's admit it.  Cleaning up has never been one of my favorite things to do, so why should I want grandchildren spending their precious time together doing clean up.)  I know it is good training for them to put all the colors back in box, and I really do want lids put back on magic markers.  Since I delight in keeping things from years ago, I definitely want materials treated well.  Children need to learn to be neat and to be responsible.  I know all that and believe all that.   But I figure one of the joys of being a grandparent is that I can let their parents teach them all those good things.  Not that I don't appreciate it when the grandchildren neaten the rooms.  Nevertheless, I really don't mind doing part of that decluttering myself as I think about the fun they have had and the occasional glimpses I've been able to enjoy as they have used their imaginations acting, drawing, writing, and creating.   The collection of hats is now returned to the large leather hat carrier I once bought at a garage sale.  The assortment of clothes (some their parents used to wear in the "old days")has been gathered up and carried to the den.  Maybe tomorrow I'll hang them back in the closet so they can find them next time they come and need to put on a play or make up a story glorified by a costume.  I'll be smiling when I do thinking of the children I love. 

I am also smiling because we had two high school freshmen in attendance at Writers Guild tonight.  Both girls from local high schools miles apart are already busily writing fantasy, and both girls had a parent attentive enough to their daughters' talents that they were willing to use expensive gas money to bring their daughter to hear Laura Benedict.