My father lives in Chicago. (I believe I may have mentioned that once or twice before.) And so the girls only get to see him once a year. Our visits are filled with trips to the zoo, aquarium, children's museum, movies, etc., and they love it. They love the fact that my dad and stepmom still have the huge wooden playset in the backyard from when my brothers and I were little kids. They love that the food never stops there (we're an Italian family, you know), and that Grandpa and Gram generally let them do whatever their little hearts desire...even banging on the piano for hours on end in the front room.
The best thing about Grandpa and Gram though is that they send the kids "boxes" throughout the year...their birthdays, Christmas, Halloween, Easter and sometimes just because. For a long time I had to go through the box before the girls because my dad would send each of them enough candy to last 8 years. Or there was the time that they sent them megaphones. And another time they sent them umbrellas that had whistles attached. Now, the girls are aware of what the box is and we have to open it together.
There was a box on the front porch when we got home. The screaming began in the car. It escalated in the foyer. GRANDPA IS THE BEST GRANDPA EVERRRRRRR!!!! Mind you, this is before the box has even been opened. But Grandpa and Gram never fail to disappoint...candy, Valentine's socks, fancy pencils, Littlest Pet Shop out the wazoo, $5 in cash and giftcards to Target.
Chris made the comment that he hoped that they carried memories of the "boxes" from Grandpa for the rest of their lives. I know that they will because I have been receiving the boxes since I was 8 years old and the "box days" are among some of the best days of my childhood.