I remember how I loved babysitting our grandchildren 

how neatly they fit into my arms.

I remember being impressed with their intelligence and captivated by their charms.


How they would spend the night with us…how we’d make sure that they were fed

how we’d play some games, watch a movie then send them off to bed.


How in the morning we’d make pancakes…in any size or shape requested

and smile as our handiwork was so easily digested.


But grandchildren grow up…a fact no grandparent can ignore

and there comes a time when grandchildren don’t need babysitting any more.


So the other night when Deborah had some friends over I thought it would be sweet

to make a date by taking Ali and two of our grandchildren out to eat.


I saw this as a way to spend some time with them

but Ava had a different point of view

She said, “Remember when you use to babysit us, PopPop?

Now we’re babysitting you!”


And I had to laugh but it made me wonder when she repeated it again

What’s the difference between them now babysitting me

and when I was babysitting them?


The main difference of course is we’re all older and they no longer fit into my arms

but I am still impressed with their intelligence and captivated by their charms.


Their world has expanded outward…their life is more complex

our conversations are more adult now..though sometimes their mom objects.


Despite the fact we’re older we still visit with the same joy and laughter and vigor…

although now when we play UNO…the cards seem so much bigger! 


They no longer spend the night…and after dinner when I was sure they had been fed 

since they now stay up much later than me…I drove home and headed off to bed.


Hoping our grandchildren remember when we babysat…

hoping those days are etched deep in each one’s memory.

hoping they remember the last time I babysat them with as much joy


as I’ll remember the first time they babysat me.

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One day as we visited Grandpa and saw him sitting there

we thought it was probably the right time to buy him a new chair.


He’s sat in that one forever…when he moves around…it creaks

the cushions are uneven…and one arm rest is weak.


The stitching barely holds together…not much if it remains

and where Grandpa loves to lay his head…is permanently stained.


It’s time for a new one, we all thought, and we were so excited

knowing Grandpa was going to love it…knowing he would be delighted.


But it didn’t go quite as we expected…I guess our thinking was a little out of whack

because when he presented it to Grandpa…he said, “Thanks…but take it back.”


Then Grandpa smiled at the lot of us…and after letting out a sigh

sat back in his old chair and explained his reasons why.


This is the chair I was sitting in when you all first came to visit me.

This is where I held each one of you…where I bounced you on my knee.


This is where we watched TV together…where I put you on my lap

where after a day of playing whatever game you wanted…we’d sit down and take a nap.


This is where I’ve sat each Christmas watching the magic taking place

From here I’ve watched you all grow up…with a smile on my face 


From here I’ve smiled at your grandma…and wondered how she found a way

as we have both grown older…to look more beautiful every day…


Grandpa went on for a long time…(as Grandpa often would)

and well before he finished…we all understood.


So the next day we sat his new chair by the road with gentleness and care…

FREE, the note read, 

with one condition…


it must become a Grandpa chair.

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People say Grandpa and I are a lot alike in how we look and what we do

and sitting here with Grandpa…I guess that’s kinda true.


I mean we both like fancy clothes…and dressing with some flair…

and quiet moments when we walk…in nothing but our underwear.


We both have bald spots on our heads, 

but here’s something to think about

not all my hair has grown in yet

while most of his is out.


We both make funny faces and our tummies are soft and round.
and sometimes for no apparent reason our bodies make odd sounds,


We both love to play.

We both love to drink…and eat

And both of us, at times, are a little unsteady on our feet.


We both love to read books

despite the discrepancy in our ages

In truth…Grandpa does all the reading

but I like listening and turning pages. 


We both smile when we see each other…

Moms say it’s because we share a heart

and when it’s time to say goodbye

we’re both sad we have to part…


But you know…the more I think about it…

I have to disagree

I don’t think I’m at all like Grandpa


But he sure is a lot like me.

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There is a truth we don’t think about when we’re young

I guess it’s too easy to ignore…

how youth will win some early battles in life…

but age will win the war. 


It’s inherent in our destiny…because every night we turn a page

and youth, felt only moments ago, cedes another day to age.


Because life is a constant struggle between age and youth…until…

age proves itself triumphant…as age forever will.


But there are moments as we grow older…we never know where or when…

That age consents to step aside and allow youth to return again…


Moments that seem to slow down in a life that can often blur…

Moments when youth revisits to remind us who we were…


Like when a Grandpa holds his grandson…even for a little while

and we see a gleam in Grandpa’s eyes and youth in Grandpa’s smile.


It’s as if in that one moment…from when that moment first began..

The youth, inherent in the child, is transmitted to the man…


Yes, if growing old is our destiny…isn’t it nice to know this truth…


That age at times can be magnanimous and cede a moment back to youth.

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