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July 4, 2013

Choosing among your own grandchildren

(Continued)

I didn’t see any of it because I was at a pre-school graduation, listening to “Farmer in the Dell.” But Rex did look cute in his white cap and gown, tripping on the hem as he came across stage to accept his diploma. I got so excited, I blew the photo opportunity.

I can remember my own kids going through their different stages. With 13 years separating the two extremes, our timing couldn’t have worked out any better in the hockey rinks. When one graduated high school, the other was just beginning.

All said and done, we spent 25 years inside ice-cold arenas, forever giving pep talks and becoming immersed into a culture that was packed with constant challenges. Dinner together became a rarity. With both of us working, life became one spontaneous gesture.

Fortunately, I covered sports and was usually available to transport the kids to their events, especially if it meant a photo or coverage.

Now, I sit back and let my children handle the responsibility with their own. The pleasure is all mine and maybe I earned it. Win, lose or draw, they get a hug and a smile.

My youngest has blessed me with four children and I can see the day when they each travel in opposite directions, sending me into a tizzy. One day, I drove the hour’s distance to catch a game, only to see the clouds open up. I got there just in time to hear the postponement.

The afternoon was spent at Chuck E Cheese, so it wasn’t a total waste. But even there, you have to watch them like a security guard.

I know a man who left behind 23 grandchildren. He must have had one heck of a time meeting the demands of seven children. The twilight years were probably just as challenging, except that they lived all over the country and distance was his savior.

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