May 26 • 04:12 AM

Building memories with grandchildren

February 20, 2008
Grandparenting is hard work—not as difficult as parenting, maybe, or at least in our case, not as daily—but nonetheless hard. It's just that once you're into it, you're fully vested in the love it takes to go the distance.

We're just back from an exhilarating but exhausting weekend with three of the grandchildren.

They really love it if once a year or so we can make it to their sporting activities. Last Saturday all three had basketball games. Leslie had an inter-school tournament so would be playing a total of four games, and Jake and Aly each had a community recreation game. So it was decided that we would go Friday after Grandpa got out of work so we could all spend time together, and that we would stay over Saturday night so their mom and dad could have a night out together.

Leslie had three half-hour back-to-back games, and then a little break before her fourth. What no one had thought to tell us was that there would be two half-court games going on simultaneously, leaving no room to fold out the bleachers. Now, Mike and I have said for a while already that we're not bleacher material anymore. But we're REALLY not folded up bleacher material—you know, where you hope no one is watching as you back up to the wall of folded-up bleachers; and, with everything you can muster you reach back, elbows bent, grab on with both hands, suck in your gut and hoist your tush up. One more time gets you to the top level where at least you have back support for the duration. Safely up there, we wait for the action to begin. Someone mentions that there's a snack bar and did we want a coffee; and all I can think is, "Are you kidding? Then I'd need a potty break. And there's not a chance I'm scalin' this wall twice! And another thing! When the teams switch courts, I certainly hope this whole line of people will just move on over so we don't have to get down and up again!" I have to admit in retrospect that I was so engrossed in dwelling on all of this that I didn't think of much about all the energy it would take for those girls to run for an hour and a half almost non stop.

Jake's game at the rec center overlapped with the last tournament game; so we left to take in that one. At least, here there were folding chairs from which to watch an exciting game. Little seven and eight-year olds with vast enthusiasm and some with surprising skills ran their little wheels off. When they finished, we switched gyms to watch Aly's game. She was the only kindergartner with the other girls being a year or two older. It was very fun watching her mom and the other coach take aside a couple of girls at a time for very elementary tips on how to play the game. We found ourselves cheering for both teams as little whippersnappers dribbled up and down the floor, now and then putting up the ball for a basket, looking like future WNBA candidates.

After we sent Mom and Dad off for the night, besides doing a lot of eating together, we played about half of the eight or so games on Jacob's list. Most were board games, though Hide-and-Seek seemed to make his day (if not ours). All built memories. And then there was the shower and bath routine. Little reminders from Mom before she left (in our hearing so we would all be on the same page), like a semi-whispered "'Member, Ali, wash up played have stinky pitties" (sniff, sniff, grin grin) and "Get all the snarls out of your hair," let her know she was, while still under "babysitter watch,'' also initiated to a degree into the sisterhood of big girls.

After all meeting up for church this morning and lunch together, we headed back home, and from the comfort of our recliners we can savor all the memories and say, "I don't know if we could do this every day anymore, but this one stint built a lot of memories!"

Castle Creek
Milnes Ford
05 - 26 - 19
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