Monday Musings…. Going for the Gold!




Well, the Summer Olympics will be upon us before we know it, and as I write this, athletes around the planet are training. They are in preparation mode, wanting to beat their personal bests and everyone else’s in the world.


Having been a fan of both the Summer and Winter Olympics for years, I’ve come to notice that there are few sports where there’s an advantage to being short. Gymnastics is an obvious one, as the smaller you are, the easier it is to change direction quickly on the ground or in the air. Marathon running is another. Shorter runners often can climb hills more efficiently, having less body weight to push up the incline. But there’s a third sport, that really is Olympic-worthy for short people, and that’s grandparenting!


Grandparents around the globe know that you need to be agile. You must be able to get down on the mat, somersault over to catch a teetering toddler, and get up gracefully without the aid of a piece of furniture. You also have to be quick on your feet, especially when little ones dart out from your parked vehicle. You are expected to climb many hills, with vim and vigour, not wanting to be outdone by a four-year-old who is strangely never out of breath. Grandparenting IS an Olympic sport!


Now why is it best suited for short people? Because those of us who are vertically challenged don’t have to bend down to hold their hands. We have an efficient way to save energy, avoid injury, and the ensuing chiropractic bills. Being short is a huge advantage in this sport!


Well, I’ve been in training for a few years now, and I must say the workouts have stepped up a notch, now that the competition is beyond walking and have graduated to full-on sprints. It’s a sport that’s just going to get more intense through the years, and so I need to take my training more seriously!


I decided before Christmas that a trial run was in order, just to see how I fared against my fellow athlete, my oldest granddaughter. She was excited to go to Grandma’s house and waited in the window, from the wee hours of the morning, to see our car to pull up and take her to the Athlete’s Village.


We arrived at the Village, got settled, enjoyed some food worthy of athletes (poultry and root vegetables that all children love 😉) and went to bed early in anticipation of the race.


We slept well, which is very important as you know, so we could be in top form. Next, was the all-important breakfast for champions (chocolate chip pancakes and berries). We then dressed for both the weather and the fact that it was Race Day!


We declared that marathons are an all-season sport. And we were going to prove just how fantastic it is to engage in this sport in the winter.


Knowing we had distance to cover, I made sure we donned our backpacks, hers with the unicorn, and mine without. Now we were ready… then set… go!


We kept a pretty even pace through the path, around the corner and through the school yard. When we came to the main street, she started to slow down.


“We’re almost there, Abel! I can see the store!!”


Being in her own little world, she stopped, and said: “Grandma, what’s this sign say?”

It was a sandwich board outside a business. I hadn’t even noticed it. So, I stopped and read it to her.


“Oh, ok!” she replied, and then she declared she was ready to continue.


We went another 30 yards. She decided the terrain was too flat, so we had to do some stairs to increase our cardio. The business was closed so we were able to do a few rounds without interruption. Feeling fours rounds was sufficient, she dragged me back on the course until we had to stop at the stop light, whereupon I told her to keep her feet moving, to not lose momentum (or feeling in her toes)!


We picked up the pace across the intersection, got into a nice rhythm… until she noticed an alley I’d never paid attention to before. Now we just had to explore it, and indeed it was very interesting with dead bushes and debris scattered throughout. It was, after all, a necessary detour in our marathon.


We finally made it to the halfway point (errand pick-up number one), got hydrated and warmed up, and summoned the strength for the last half of the journey. The next pit stop involved getting Timbits, which she proudly put in her back-pack; then the post office where we reviewed each piece of mail she collected from the box that was right at her level; and then we ventured into another store where she picked out some essentials for Christmas. Our legs were feeling it by this time, but we pushed on!


In fact, we sprinted towards the school, did some jumps and flips on the playground equipment, and stopped only briefly when she discovered a stray mitten in the schoolyard. "Who was the owner of this mitten?" we wondered.


“Maybe,” she posited, “they’ve beat us!”


“Well, we better find out!”


She grabbed my hand, (no crouching needed for me), and we high-tailed it to the finish line.


“Faster, Grandma, faster!”


Whew! We made it! And the one-mittened competitor was nowhere insight.


“We won, Grandma! We won!”


“You’re right, Abel! We got the gold!”


Grandparenting, whether you're short or tall, IS an all-season sport. And the best way to make it to the top of the podium is to slow your pace, take the detours, enjoy the pit stops, and cross that finish line by posting not the fastest, but the longest time.



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