Grandparents’ dilemma

Readers who attend Road Scholars programs, as we do, will appreciate this. On the first evening of a program we attended recently, our leader asked each participant to identify himself or herself and briefly summarize their occupations and personal histories. “However,” she cautioned, “you are not allowed to mention your grandchildren.” We  responded with chuckles and a few good-natured groans.

Most grandparents adore their grandchildren and think they’re exceptionally bright and talented and heading for wonderful careers. We love to watch them progress through childhood, adolescence and teen years, then grow into fine adults. We hope and pray that we will still be around to witness important events in their lives: their graduations and especially their wedding. When miles separate us, we eagerly anticipate their too-infrequent visits and the precious time spent in their presence. We want to drink from this happiness cup, reading to them, playing games with them, laughing together.

But as they grow older, so do we. Eventually, we come to a time when their much-loved visits begin to wear us out. The preparation of meals for six or more instead of the usual two, changing sheets and making adjustments in sleeping arrangements and bathroom time, once cheerful routines, have become stressful, tiring challenges. What to do? It’s a terrible dilemma.

Our three beloved daughters and their equally wonderful husbands get it. They want to make it easier on us and so they take us out to dinner and make arrangements to bed down in a local hotel at day’s end. Reluctantly, we accept and must confess to feeling relieved. We would much rather have them eating with us at our table and sleeping under our roof, but perhaps this is the sensible solution.

Today’s word: career. It is a noun, meaning one’s occupation or way of making a living. It also can be a verb, meaning to move swiftly or wildly. The word is misused frequently by some sports announcers whose limited grasp of the language prevents them from clearly identifying the time a young athlete spends in college or even in high school. It’s not uncommon to hear references to one’s “high school career.” Please.

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