In our own backyard...Grandma and Grandpa in chargeEvery once in a while those priceless moments come along where we find ourselves completely on our own with one of our grandchildren – no mom or dad to give directions or dole out discipline, no little sister or big brother to steal the spotlight, no rules to get in the way of having a delightful time.
By: Wendy Johnson, Pine Journal
Every once in a while those priceless moments come along where we find ourselves completely on our own with one of our grandchildren – no mom or dad to give directions or dole out discipline, no little sister or big brother to steal the spotlight, no rules to get in the way of having a delightful time.
Last Saturday was just such a day. We found ourselves passing through the Twin Cities on the very day that our granddaughter had hockey practice and our grandson had a basketball scrimmage. We were excited that the timing worked out for us to watch them play.
The hockey practice got under way at 11:30 a.m., and after we’d watched our granddaughter Evie, 5, play for several minutes, her mom asked us if we’d be willing to shuttle Ethan, 8, over to a nearby school for his 12:30 basketball scrimmage. We told her we would be happy to do it and assured her that we were up to the task.
“Don’t worry about a thing,” Ken said.
After getting a few basic instructions on how to find the place, we strapped a very excited Ethan into his seatbelt in the rear seat of our pickup and took off.
We finally found the school just as several other families were getting there, too. As soon as we came through the front entryway, Ethan trotted off to the restroom to change into his gym shorts. He came out after a few minutes, ready to go.
The three of us stood there and looked at each other.
“Do you know where you’re supposed to go?” I asked Ethan.
“Not really,” he replied.
We walked down the hallway, peaking in each of four doors leading into two separate gymnasiums. Inside each of them, youngsters were bouncing the ball around and taking practice shots while a handful of coaches visited on the sidelines.
“Do you see anyone you know?” I probed.
“Not really,” Ethan replied, looking worried this time.
We began to wonder if we’d even brought him to right school when a janitor must have noticed our distress and came over to see if he could help.
“We’re looking for the basketball scrimmage,” I said, lowering my voice as I added, “We’re the grandparents – and we have no idea where he’s supposed to be.”
He grinned indulgently as he asked us what grade Ethan was in and then pointed to one of the gyms, saying he thought that was where his age group was scheduled to play. As soon as we stepped inside the door, Ethan sprinted off across the gym in the direction of a familiar face he’d just spotted. We heaved a sigh of relief.
The scrimmage soon got under way, and we sat in folding chairs along the wall, watching proudly as Ethan pounded up and down the court.
Next to me sat a young mother who I later learned was a former collegiate basketball player, and she issued a steady stream of directives to her young son as he played, coaching him from the sidelines about game strategy and skill moves.
Feeling a little sheepish over my own lack of knowledge about the game, I half-heartedly yelled, “Go, Ethan! Cover your man!” (Somehow, that seems to be a fairly universal directive in most sports, so I figured it would be a safe thing to say!) The young woman next to me turned my way and grinned slightly.
“That’s my grandson!” I said proudly.
At one point during the play, Ethan went crashing to the floor and came up holding his shin. The coach sent him to the sidelines and I wondered if he was hurt, and if he was, if there was anything we should do about it. After all of the years of following my own kids through sports, it seemed that as a grandmother, I was suddenly out of my league.
Much to our relief, Ethan was soon back in the game and when his mom called to ask how everything was going, we were able to report that everything was fine.
We took the whole family out for lunch following the practices and then we said our goodbyes and headed out for home. And just as we were unpacking the truck, we discovered Ethan’s water bottle and his backpack with his gym shoes and team T-shirt sitting in the middle of the back seat – 160 miles away from his next scrimmage!