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He’s turning pro at 8

Grandchildren are a gift. Even if I’d had no children, at this stage of my life I would probably borrow someone else’s kids — play with them, learn from them. Cherish them.

I am very fortunate; we have five remarkable grandchildren. Indulge me as I offer what I hope will be insight on grandparenting, as well as loving acknowledgment. Our youngest grandson is 8 years old, and because of his family’s close proximity and his age, he is often in the forefront of our lives.

Jordan will be playing tackle football this year — possibly as a quarterback. There was much family debate about the type of football he would play; the family’s pediatrician was even consulted. Jordan’s dad played football in college, so that was probably the deciding factor. Or maybe it was one of his coaches saying, “That kid’s a really impressive athlete. Did you see that throwing arm?”

That would be the kid who was born six weeks premature and weighed less than four pounds at birth.

Jordan played baseball this summer, batting both right- and left-handed. In the last game of the season, he had two base hits and a stunning out-of-the park home run. After the game, as he was chugging Gatorade, he offered up to no one in particular — “I will probably go professional in September.” Athletic? Yes. Humble? No.

Jordan Kaleo Kai regularly spends time with us. He is great about wearing his mask — as the aforementioned pediatrician advised, “Kids get it — they are better about masking than most adults.” Our 8, going-on-14-year-old, grandson is well-versed in vax/anti-vax rhetoric and does not hesitate to put forth his opinion. Well-informed? Yes. Patience with those who are not well-informed, i.e. unvaccinated. Not always.

Last week our grand boy joined his cousins on a guided day trip to Mount St. Helens. The haze of wildfire smoke made the mountain barely visible, but the teacher/guide was a pro at getting the children engaged in the history of still-present ash and the various types of rock. Jordan found a particularly interesting angular specimen that he named “Ron.” At the end of the waterside teaching session, he expertly skipped “Ron the Rock” into a shallow pond, wished him a good day, and asked if there were any tree frogs he could give names to.

One highlight of that particular trek was the drive home. We played “Two Truths, One Lie.” In this game, you offer up three statements about yourself, and the other players have to guess which one is untrue. Jordan is an expert at it. On that particular day he said, “I have a dog named Mochi.” “I am very good at math.” “Once, I accidentally kissed a girl.”

All the statements turned out to be true. Jordan tends to change the rules of games while they are in progress. The accidental kissing apparently involved another boy in first grade pushing him toward a female classmate and his lips “accidentally puckering out” toward hers.

A good story? Yes. More stories to come. Definitely.

Sharon Johnson is a retired health educator. She can be reached at sharjohn99@gmail.com.