On Saint Patrick’s Day, my cousin Michael McDaniels and his wife, Deena took his mom, my Aunt Bonnie McDaniels to a celebration in downtown Casper, Wyoming, as part of her birthday celebration. That reminded me about the many times that my husband, Bob Schulenberg and I would run into Aunt Bonnie and her husband, my Uncle Jack at the fair with their grandchildren. They took them every year and the kids had a great time. We would run into them, because we still went to the fair at that time. I always thought it was great that they took their grandkids every year, because lots of kids don’t get to go. Either their parents couldn’t afford it, or just figured the kids could wait until they were old enough to go on their own. Aunt Bonnie and Uncle Jack’s grandkids didn’t have to worry about that, because they got to go every year.
Aunt Bonnie also loved attending the various events of her grandchildren, and I’m sure she was that way with her kids too. I usually saw her at the track meets at Grant School, where both of our grandchildren went to elementary school. Of course, Uncle Jack had to work in those days, so he didn’t get the pleasure of coming to the track meets. Aunt Bonnie was always so excited about the events, and spent the day cheering her grandson, Anthony McDaniels on to, hopefully, victory. For Aunt Bonnie, her family was everything. She wanted nothing more than to spend time surrounded by them. They were the product of the great love she had for Uncle Jack, and in them, her life was complete.
Aunt Bonnie has blessed many people in her lifetime. Her cakes have graced many a wedding, but it was her smile and her cheerful way that were the real blessing. Every time Bob and I ran into her, oddly most often while grocery shopping at Walmart, she and Uncle Jack were always pleased to run into us, and we always had a nice conversation…even if it was a short conversation. We just always enjoyed running into them. Things are different for Aunt Bonnie now that Uncle Jack has gone to Heaven, but it pleases me to see her kids taking her out to do the fun stuff. It’s almost like going full circle. What she and Uncle Jack did for their kids, they are now doing for her. And what a special treat it must be for her. She got to go to something she wouldn’t have done on her own. Today is Aunt Bonnie’s birthday. Happy birthday Aunt Bonnie!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
As my grandchildren get closer to graduation from high school, I am beginning to realize just how much I am going to miss all their activities. As little ones, there were the school plays, awards ceremonies, and track day, and they might also play basketball or soccer. Then in summer they might play baseball or some other sport. By the time they were in middle school, the plays were gone, but there was still the occasional concert, basketball, track, and summer baseball. I began to realize that we were at the end of that era after Josh graduated to middle school. Things were very different now. By this time, all three of the other grandchildren had decided that they didn’t want to be in sports in school anymore, although, Chris and Caalab like to play softball on their team from work in the summer, and that is fun to watch too. Still, mostly they were busy with their jobs, studies, and plans for their futures.
I realize that if I want to see much of the school activities anymore, I will need to attend as many of Josh’s track meets as I can. I always liked to go to them, but this years has been more difficult. There were more of them that were during the day and during the work week. Nevertheless, I have been able to make a couple of them. I think it is sad that the closer I get to having no more of these activities, the fewer I am able to get to. I know that I will miss these when they are over.
Today was one of the times I was able to get to Josh’s meet. I really love to watch Josh run. He does best at the long races, and I think that those kids who do the 800 meter and 1600 meter races are to be commended. I like the 400 meter too with Josh. He just seems to be able to bring it on as the race progresses. That is so not like his grandmother. Running is not my thing. I can walk for two hours or more, but running…less that 5 minutes. Josh is my hero in the running arena. This year has been a bit of a transition for Josh, and that has been a little hard. Before, he raced against his own age group, but in high school they all race together. Some of those seniors are quite a bit stronger than Josh. Nevertheless, Josh stood his ground against kids who are bigger, older, and stronger than he is. I know that as he grows, he will be the one who is bigger, older, and stronger, and then he will be in charge. I can’t wait for that day, but in the meantime, I enjoy watching the journey he is on.
I am often amazed at how big my grandson, Josh has grown. Especially when I think about the early start he got. Josh was born 5 weeks early. His weight wasn’t too bad at 5 pounds 6.5 ounces, but his lungs were underdeveloped, so he went to Denver for 2 weeks to get stronger. Once he came home, he decided to catch up on his lost time. Josh began eating like a horse, and before long, his weight was up to normal, or even a little chunky for his age.
That didn’t last very long, because as soon as he started to grow, he was a little bean pole…so much so that his mom said he had bird legs. And hungry! That boy was always hungry, especially for treats!! You would expect him to be fat, but he wasn’t and at 14, still isn’t.
As to those underdeveloped lungs…well, I think they are just fine. Josh likes track meets, and last year he took first in the 400 meter race, finishing in just 1.07 minutes. And he wasn’t even badly out of breath. He ran so fast that second place was about a fourth of the track length behind him. It was an amazing race.
Josh continues to amaze us with everything he does, but lately I have been especially surprised by his height. It looks like he might be the tallest of my 4 grandchildren, and I expected him to be more like the shortest of the boys…until he was 3, that is, when his height indicated that he would be taller.
With him being as talk as he is and the youngest grandchild, I find myself a little sad. Those grandbaby years are over, as they are almost adults. It just doesn’t seem possible. They should all still be little.
Today was my grandson, Josh’s last regular track meet. He has enjoyed track so much, and he is very good at it. He has long legs and they are very strong. Josh had entered the 400 Meter Run, the 4 X 100 Meter Relay, and the 200 Meter Run. The day was beautiful, after a cool, rainy start. The meet was running very smoothly, and the time for Josh’s first race, the 400 Meter Run, quickly arrived. This was a race we all felt Josh would do well in, because he had always seemed to need a little distance to get up to speed.
Josh was to run in the outside lane…the one that toward the end, can be quickly caught up to by the inside lane. The gun sounded, and it was very clear to me that Josh got a great start in this race. There was no hesitation at the sound of the gun…just a smooth take off. I was excited by that in itself, because as we all know, the take off is very important.
Around the first turn, Josh was still in the lead…in fact he was quickly pulling away from the other runners. Then he got to that point…at about 100 meters, where he gets up to speed. At that point, he took off like a rocket. People around his mom, my daughter, Corrie started saying, “Look at that kid!!! Look at him!!” They were stunned. And we…were, totally hyper with excitement!!
Josh has been running in Middle School Track for two years now, and while he placed quite well in the races, he had not taken first place yet. We wanted it for him so badly. He really, really wanted it. We knew he had it in him. And this race just might be that race.
The race continued like that right up to the end. I could hardly breathe, I was just so excited. Here was my grandson, so far out ahead of the rest of the runners that they weren’t even in sight of him. Everyone was so excited!! The man standing next to my daughter, Corrie asked, “Which runner is yours?” Corrie proudly exclaimed, “The one in first!!” The man said, “Wow!!” She was so proud!! We all were!!
The pictures Josh’s brother, my grandson Chris took, said it all. There are no other runners in the picture. That is because Josh never lost the lead. He was the only runner in the pictures, because he had left all the others in the dust!! He was like a rocket, and they simply couldn’t compete with that. I’m so proud of my grandson, Josh’s first 1st place win…and in a tough, long race…the 400 Meter Run!! Josh ran the race in 1.07 seconds. Way to go Josh!! I’m so proud of you!!
My grandson, Josh started out in this life as a preemie baby, being born 5 weeks early, and while his medical problems were minor…just underdeveloped lungs and his small size. After spending 2 weeks at Presbyterian St Luke’s Hospital in the neo-natal intensive care unit, Josh came home a healthy baby boy with no signs of the early birth he had experienced. He began the catch up process, and did a very good job of it. He quickly left behind that small size and weak lungs, and turned into a very healthy and strong runner.
Today, I had the privileged of attending Josh’s track meet in Douglas. Josh has always loved to run…even as a little boy, and he and his brother raced to school. Their dad tells me that they still race each other, and maybe that is why Josh is so good at racing…lots of practice. He started out trying to catch up to his brother, and then he started winning sometimes.
Josh did well in his races, but it was the 4 X 400 Meter Relay that was the most exciting…for many people. In the 4 X 400 Meter Relay, there are teams that race against each member of the team runs once around the track with a baton. After each runner runs their lap, the baton is handed off to the next runner. Josh was the second runner on his team. At the point the baton was handed off to Josh, his team was in dead last out of 6 or 7 teams. About a quarter of the way around the track Josh began his sprint. He passed the slowest runners easily, and then began the real catch up work. One by one Josh passed each other the other runners, until there was only one runner ahead of him. When Josh handed off the baton to the next runner, their team was in 2nd place, and there they stayed.
Josh had put his team back in the race. They were in last place…with little hope of changing their situation. It is very hard to picture any possibility of catching up. Then came Josh. He ran past each of the other racers as if they were standing still, and believe me, they were running hard. If there had been 100 more meters for Josh to run, he would have passed the first place team runner as well, but it didn’t matter, because they had been given hope again. And they weren’t in last place. Second place was a joyous position to be in.
After the race was over, and Josh returned to the bleachers where we were sitting near his school’s group. Josh was the talk of the crowd. All three coaches complimented him on a great run, as did all the students…and especially his teammates. The last runner on his team…usually the fastest runner, came up to Josh and said, “That’s it!! You are a permanent member of our relay team!!” It was a wonderful day for my grandson…and his parents and grandma too.
Today is the first track meet of the year for my grandson, Josh. He is the only one of my grandkids that really likes track. The others have done it a time or two, but Josh loves to run, and so the track part of the meet totally suits him. He has really been training for the track meets all of his life…even before he knew what a track meet was.
Josh and his big brother, Chris used to come to my house in the mornings and when it was time to go to school, they would walk the half block to their elementary school. I say that they walked, but that was rarely the case. Mostly they had a race to see who could get there first, and except for reminding them to look both ways for cars, I simply enjoyed watching the race to see who would win today.
When these races first started, Josh was pretty little…a Kindergarten, grade school newcomer. At that age, his strategy was…outsmart the big brother. So, he tried to distract his big brother so he could get the upper hand. They were supposed to go out to the sidewalk and start the race at the same time, but Josh always managed to figure out a way to get a head start. I know that he figured it was his only way to win, since his brother, Chris is 2 1/2 years older than he is. And at in those early years, Josh was probably right.
Then as Josh grew, things began to change. Josh worked so hard at beating his brother, that he grew stronger and quicker. He started winning a race or two…which was surprising to his brother. We had to start making Josh was until I said, “On your mark! Get set! Go!” Otherwise the races were no longer fair to Chris. Still, even with the new fair starts, Josh was winning more and more. Not always, but winning fair and square.
Those early races were not to practice for future track meets, but they did stimulate a love for running and racing that has carried Josh into this sport. He has tried the field events, but they don’t give him the excitement of the run, the wind in his face, and the thrill of the victory that racing gives. Running is where he shines, and I, for one, love to watch the race. Go get ’em Champ!!
Kindergarten…it’s such a precious time. Your little one is starting school and so much is changing, so fast. They are going to school and discovering who they are and who they might like to be. They get a chance to try different things and to see if they might have the coordination…or learn coordination. Most kindergarten kids, aren’t especially coordinated, but sometimes they are.
At this age, a lot of their track meet is held in the gym, where they do skill tests that have little to do with track, but everything to do with balance and coordination. Still, it can be funny, to watch these little first time jumpers. rope climbers, runners, etc. Their little legs will barely take them over the lowest rung on the high jump. They are doing their best to figure out how to get over the bar without falling on their face. And speaking of faces, their level of concentration shows so clearly on their faces.
At 5 years old, my granddaughter Shai, who will tell you to this day that PE isn’t her favorite class, was already pretty convinced that track would not be her sport…if there was ever to be a sport that would be her favorite. She never did like running, or even jump rope as I recall. She is too much of a girly girl to want to do PE. Still, she did her best, and even if it never won her a first place ribbon, it won her first place in this picture…as far as her mom, my daughter, Amy is concerned. Amy told me that this picture is one of her very favorite pictures of Shai. “She just looked so cute!”, Amy would tell me. And she was so right. Shai was a cute little girl…a little out of her element, but it was the trying that captured your interest.
It is the level of concentration that is most telling in how successful my granddaughter will be in her life. Shai can do anyhing she sets her mind to. She is a bit stubborn like her grandma, and yet I believe that it will be that tubbornness that will carry her to success in whatever she chooses to do in her life. Like my granddaughter, I too was very stubborn, and in fact still am. I hate to lose, and I will keep trying until I win. That is what I expect my granddaughter will be like too. Still, the choice will be hers. She will have to choose to put that stubbornness to good use…to be so stubborn that she will stay with a thing until she masters it. I believe she will do just that.
Today I went to my grandson, Josh’s track meet and had a wonderful time. Josh did quite well in his events. It was his first traveling athletic event, and he was very excited. I look forward to the rest of his meets over the course on the next month. I want to congratulate Josh on his great events.
While the track meet was the reason for our trip, I did find myself annoyed at the number of people who refused to listen to the announcer and show at least some measure of respect for the school that hosted this event. There were not so many requests, but it would seem that lots of people believed that they were not required to follow the rules. There were the number of people who would not get out of the way…as there always seems to be, but there was one couple that particularly annoyed me.
When the announcer asked that no food or drink be on the Astro-turf field, as a spill would cause permanent damage, this couple stood right where they were, him with his soft drink, refusing to move. And in addition to that, the people behind me commented that they shouldn’t be so worried about it, because it couldn’t damage it any more than all the “blood and spit” from the football games. I found that equally annoying, as I’m quite certain that the acid in that pop would cause more damage than blood.
That is not really the point anyway. They assumed that the school’s rules were not worth their obedience. No wonder our kids act like they don’t have to follow the rules. This is the type of example some parents set for their kids, and others who just happen to be able to see them. When we travel to another school for events, lets at least have the decency to show respect for the school that invited us.