As luck would have it, yesterday was doubly special! I picked up Honeysuckle for her three month visit AND I had a few hours with just me and Lilly.
My next door neighbors have three wonderful kidlets, now 8, 10 and 12. Hard to believe Alex was not quite 3 when we moved in and now he's in third grade! Mr. Ralph and Brent got along famously as they were both born and raised in Indiana ... not too far from each other ... just 30 years difference in age!
I love being a Gramma and have a cabinet full of fun as when they were younger, they hung out over here a lot. Bubbles, sidewalk chalk, pipe cleaners for art projects, etc. The parents took each child on a one-on-one "date" weekly.
Last year before I left, I had an outing with Abbey, the oldest. We had a fancy lunch and then got henna tattoos (yes, I asked Mom first). Now it was Lilly's turn. She's the middle child and probably my favorite, if I had to pick. She's a bit more timid although an athletic daredevil. Unfortunately for me, she gets carsick very easily, even in the front seat so we had to stick around in our own zipcode.
I asked her where she would like to go for lunch ... someplace she's never been but would like to try? Nope. She chose the little 1950's diner less than a mile from here! She got grilled cheese and I got a mushroom burger ... and we split a mint chocolate chip milkshake! We talked about school, siblings, sports, travel and of course, she loved Honeysuckle. She went with me to the pet shop to get food and a toy that I can fill with food. And we came home to play.
To earn an allowance, she took on the duty of caring for Baxter, their Corgi/Border Collie dog. While I was away for six months, he has lost his excess weight, his coat is shiny and I swear he smiles! She plays with him every day and cleans up the poop as well as doing the food and water thing. Her devoted attention really shows.
She goes to a Charter School where they work via computer on Thursday afternoon and all day Friday so they learn how to self direct. I invited her to bring over her computer and she got all her work done! That was rewarded with two of my Christmas cookies (I've gotta get those mailed away before I eat them ALL).
I think we might make it a more regular Thursday date ... maybe not lunch but we can think of a million things or projects. She's never been to the library!